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A New Leaf: Episode 12

You can try to get out… but they just keep pulling you back in! That’s the problem that confronts Seok-ju this episode, as he gets his fiancée out on bail and finally walks away from CEO Cha’s poisonous clutches, only to realize that living comfortably isn’t easy once you’ve opened your eyes to the injustice around you. Ji-won picks up exactly where Seok-ju left off at the firm, and CEO Cha’s plans begin to fall into place. There’s only one factor he can’t control for, however, and that is Seok-ju. It’s time to pick sides, as our amnesiac lawyer realizes that there are some fights you can’t simply avoid.

 
EPISODE 12 RECAP

While Seok-ju’s decision to quit comes as a relief for him, for Ji-yoon it is not so joyous. She trudges back to work with a long face, as her neighbor and mentor leaves the Cha Young Woo firm behind.

CEO Cha moves on quickly, it seems, as he tells his right-hand man that when people are going down different paths, it is best not to drag things out. When a representative from the Association of Banks calls hoping to hear about Seok-ju’s decision to take their case, the CEO bluntly states that Seok-ju has resigned.

Meanwhile, the elevator delivers Ji-won to the CEO’s floor. Jaunty music plays as he walks through the hallway and takes in the sights. I’d say there’s a new sheriff in town, but I don’t think Ji-won is going to be a force for justice.

When Ji-won enters, the staff is still reeling from Seok-ju’s abrupt departure. His secretary tells Sang-tae sadly that Seok-ju never said a word to her, and they didn’t even get to throw a farewell party. Ji-won’s arrival is a welcome distraction, and Sang-tae wonders what brings a judge to a law firm “in broad daylight.” Ji-won is called in to the CEO’s office before he can explain, and when one of the interns says that the firm has been courting a judge lately, Sang-tae scoffs that it can’t be him.

CEO Cha welcomes Ji-won, who doesn’t want to receive any special treatment now that he’s left his old position behind. He also mentions that he saw Seok-ju leaving with his belongings, and is informed that the former ace left the firm more quickly than expected. The CEO calls in Sang-tae, who went to the same high school as Ji-won, to show him around and help him get acquainted with the partners.

After Ji-won and Sang-tae leave, CEO Cha’s second-in-command observes that Ji-won is adapting quickly. The CEO agrees, saying that the former judge is eager to prove himself by taking on a big case.

Sang-tae gives Ji-won the basic rundown of the firm, though he falls silent for a moment when he sees the employees packing up Seok-ju’s belongings. Ji-won recognizes that they were close friends. Sang-tae gives Ji-won a choice of offices, but the former judge says he’ll adapt to whatever he’s given.

Ji-yoon sees a box of Seok-ju’s belongings that includes his hard drive – the one she hid from the prosecution when they were searching for evidence of insider trading. She acts quickly by volunteering to deliver the box to Seok-ju personally.

Ji-won recognizes Ji-yoon and says that they’ll be running into each other often. Sang-tae didn’t know they were acquainted, and says that since Ji-won knows so many people here, he’s perfect to join them on the 36th floor. Ji-yoon goes back to her desk, while the other interns wonder about her identity. First Seok-ju and now Ji-won… is she perhaps the daughter of a high-ranking judge or lawyer?

Sang-tae takes Ji-won through a catalogue of interior decorating choices for his office. Ji-won only flips through a few before deciding, impressing Sang-tae with how easygoing he is for an ex-judge.

CEO Cha gets a call from yet another bank president who has heard that Seok-ju has left the firm. Undeterred by the news, the bank president says that they’ll simply have to “work jointly with another firm,” assuming that Seok-ju is going to work somewhere else. CEO Cha asks for a meeting with the heads of all the banks involved, so that he can explain the situation to them.

Finally free of the insidious clutches of the Cha Yeong Woo firm, Seok-ju drives around Seoul with the window open and the wind through his hair. He looks happy and carefree… until one of his stress-triggered headaches strikes, causing him to pull the car to the side of the road.

Chairman Gwon has a brief Meeting of the Malicious Minds with his sons, who now oppose Jung-seon’s marriage with Seok-ju. They say they can’t trust him after he stabbed them in the back.

“How can we give Jung-seon to a man we can’t trust?” one uncle demands. I hope someone will point out to him that he was willing to give Jung-seon to a penitentiary for 10-15 years, which ought to negate his ability to “give” Jung-seon to anybody. The other uncle worries that Jung-seon will betray the family for love, just like her mother, while Chairman Gwon says that Jung-seon may break off the marriage by herself.

In his apartment, Seok-ju relaxes on the couch with Khan at his feet and a fishing rod in hand. It’s a beautiful moment, as it expresses his desire for a simpler life while showing the difficulties still between him and that desire. Quitting may have brought him momentary relief, but he is still misplaced, incomplete – like a fishing pole without any place to fish.

The next day at Jung-seon’s trial, she admits that she made a false confession to protect her ailing grandfather. In light of her obvious remorse and the efforts made by the company to partially repay the victims, the judge has decided to set bail, which means Jung-seon can go free.

Her grandfather gets to his feet, and Seok-ju breathes a sigh of relief. He’s even sporting a new hairdo for the occasion! The only people who don’t look happy are the victims present in court, among whom is Ji-yoon’s aunt.

Jung-seon changes out of her inmate’s uniform and heads into the hallway. Her family is waiting for her, with Seok-ju a few paces behind them. Jung-seon greets her grandfather and sends the family ahead, so she can have a few words in private with Seok-ju. With poker face intact, Jung-seon thanks Seok-ju and says that it couldn’t have been an easy decision for him. He apologizes for dragging her into something that he was partially responsible for, and tells her to go home and rest. She leaves, with no other words to give us any insight into what she’s feeling after her ordeal.

Not everyone is happy that Jung-seon has been allowed out on bail. The victims of the CP scam throw eggs at Chairman Gwon’s family on their way out, demanding they go to jail. As Seok-ju watches from afar, he overhears a couple reflecting that it must be nice to have enough money to pay a 500 million won bail (about $500,000) so easily.

At the Cha Yeong Woo law firm, it becomes clear that the looming bank case is the next gigantic hurdle, and also the battleground where Ji-won aims to prove his mettle. He presents the details of the case to the CEO and his second-in-command. Essentially, over a hundred businesses are facing bankruptcy and hundreds more are suffering thanks to loans that went bad. The banks are trying to keep the victims from coordinating together, but in spite of their efforts a civil lawsuit worth 3 trillion won (about 3 billion dollars) is on the horizon. It will be the biggest civil lawsuit in history, which translates to big bucks for whichever law firm represents the banks.

Ji-won outlines the main objectives at this point: 1) Make sure that the Cha Yeong Woo firm has sole responsibility for the case; 2) Get the judge to dismiss the claims out of court, or failing that; 3) Reduce the amount of compensation that the banks have to pay by as much as possible. He says humbly that he shouldn’t be the one in charge of such a huge case, to which CEO Cha replies that the only requirement from the banks was that Seok-ju be in charge. Now that he’s gone, the risk and the reward are both up for grabs.

Seok-ju visits his father, who is showing more and more signs of his Alzheimer’s. He is surprised to hear that Seok-ju quit, having forgotten that Seok-ju told him that he intended to. He’s preparing to visit someone at the hospital, but he’s done up the buttons on his shirt wrong. Seok-ju helps straighten him out, and leaves with him for the hospital.

The patient turns out to be one of the business owners harmed by the banks, and Seok-ju’s father is sorry to say that he can’t help with the lawsuit. The scale of the case is too big, requiring multiple researchers and financial experts. They are joined by more small business owners, who are all facing ruinous losses because of an option they bought.

Outside in the waiting room, Seok-ju reviews the details for the business owners. With the exchange rate soaring, the amount of money they lose paying off loans skyrockets as well, so that the losses are on the scale of millions to billions of dollars collectively. Seok-ju asks why they all bought this particular option, when none of the larger companies did.

A series of flashbacks shows what happened, as representatives from the companies’ main banks hustle the victims like snake-oil salesmen. They pressure them into buying three-year options on exchange rates, assuring them that the exchange rate will never go up. Some of the shrewder business owners tried to cancel, but they were then told that the fee to cancel is about $200,000. At this point, Seok-ju informs them, it would have been cheaper to pay the cancellation fee.

It seems that these business owners, along with all the rest, were caught in a Catch-22. They should have banded together to rouse public sentiment in their favor when they found out they were being taken advantage of, but it’s not that easy. They were all scammed by their main banks, and antagonizing them would have meant jeopardizing the loans they needed to stay in business. But now the victims have lost ground instead of coming together as a cohesive force, and it’s possible that the courts will be biased against them.

Seok-ju promises his father that he’ll continue to help, but it won’t be an easy task. As his father said earlier, a case this large requires a large firm, and Seok-ju is only one man.

Unaware that Seok-ju is slowly getting involved with the opposition, CEO Cha briefs the assembled CEOs of influential banks on the upcoming Civil Lawsuit to Rule Them All. His strategy, should the banks choose to hire his firm, is to sway public opinion through the media and present a unified argument to the judges. There is so much information on so many companies that no judge can keep track of it all, so a well-coordinated defense can present information so as to lead the judge in the direction they want.

The CEO’s next task is to sell ex-judge Ji-won instead of Seok-ju. He makes a strong argument, however, explaining that the civil lawsuit will certainly go the Supreme Court. If the candidate that CEO Cha is rooting for actually does become Chief Justice, then Ji-won is the lawyer most likely to persuade him. In spite of the loss of Seok-ju, it seems that CEO Cha has the bank leaders right where he wants them.

The final item of discussion is the opposition, and finally we see a friendly face: it’s Prosecutor Lee, who has been switched to the finance division! We learn that she has a degree in accounting, and is so smart that she’s been sent abroad twice to study. “She won’t be an easy opponent,” CEO Cha warns his soon-to-be clients.

Speak of the devilishly stylish prosecutor, and she appears. Prosecutor Lee grills one of the bank representatives, determined to find out why all of the major banks sold these high-risk options. She wants to know if the sales clerks at the banks even understood the terms of the options they were selling, and if they properly warned the small-to-midsize businesses of the risks.

When she reports to her boss, she’s certain that what the banks did constitutes fraud. Only small-to-midsize businesses were targeted, and as she points out, who would have bought the options if the risks had been properly explained?

In the hospital, Seok-ju recommends that the business owners band together and hire a large law firm, so that the battlefield can be as even as possible. But the camera cuts directly to CEO Cha in the boardroom, as he explains that he’s made arrangements to hire the next five largest law firms to work on small portions of the case. By hiring them to do insignificant work, he makes it impossible for them to represent the victims without being liable for dual representation. Curse you, you evil genius!

Seok-ju takes the business owners through their somewhat limited options. They can take their businesses into court receivership, but that’s exactly what they want to avoid. They need someone to represent them, but when they ask Seok-ju why he can’t do it, he says that he’s just a sole practitioner who hasn’t even set up his practice yet.

Seok-ju drops his father off at home, and Dad muses after he leaves that something must have happened to his son.

In the park with Khan, Seok-ju stops for a moment to sit down. He wonders why there are so many naïve people in the world, clearly still preoccupied by the plight of the business owners.

Ji-yoon’s friend Mi-ri drops by the apartment, and when Seok-ju returns with Khan, the two meet in the hall. Mi-ri doesn’t recognize Seok-ju at first, but when she does, she cowers against the door and hilariously tries to hide her face.

Seok-ju thinks that she must be frightened of dogs, and ushers Khan inside his apartment. Mi-ri remembers that Ji-yoon told her she lived next to a lawyer with memory loss, and recovers her composure as she puts the pieces together.

Ji-yoon arrives just in time, and delivers Seok-ju the last box with his belongings. She lets him know that his hard drive is there too, and he heads inside. Now that they are alone, Mi-ri exclaims to Ji-yoon that it’s amazing that Seok-ju is the lawyer she was talking about.

No sooner does Seok-ju get inside his apartment than he gets a call from his father. Lawyer Seo In-ho, the current best choice to represent the scam victims, is visiting shortly, and Seok-ju is the best person to explain the details. Seok-ju promises to come right over. After he hangs up, he asks Khan whether all unemployed people are this busy.

One apartment over, Mi-ri and Ji-yoon relax with a few beers. Mi-ri laughs about Seok-ju being the lawyer with amnesia, and evades Ji-yoon once again when she asks what their relationship is. She brings up Ji-yoon’s intention of quitting, and asks if she intends to follow Seok-ju. “Do it!” I yell, but Ji-yoon ignores me and points out that Seok-ju doesn’t even have a firm.

The conversation turns to judges leaving for law firms, which is when Ji-yoon shares the news about Ji-won coming to work at her firm. Mi-ri urges her to “get something going,” but Ji-yoon reflects that she doesn’t know when she’s going to leave, either.

Seok-ju greets Lawyer Seo at his father’s house, and learns that he has often gone up against lawyers from his firm in the past. Seok-ju turns down an offer of employment, saying that he intends to rest for a while.

The two lawyers talk about the details of the case for a while. Seok-ju intends to do more research, to find out exactly how much the odds favored the large banks when they sold high-risk options to the small businesses. It’s clear that he has a good grasp on what’s going on, and Lawyer Seo asks the obvious question of why Seok-ju doesn’t take the lead on this case. Seok-ju says that he’s only helping as a favor to his father, and that his condition isn’t that good.

After Lawyer Seo leaves, Seok-ju has another of his headaches. His father asks what’s wrong, and learns that the doctor says the attacks are due to overwork and stress. The conversation turns to Seok-ju’s postponed marriage, and from there to what Seok-ju’s own mother was like. His father says that she was the kind of person who hated injustice, and wanted her husband to stand up for their principles even if it meant living a difficult life.

CEO Cha gets the word that Lawyer Seo has been hired, and his reaction shows that this is a bold counterstroke from the business owners. Because of Lawyer Seo’s past position as Head Prosecutor of the Central Investigations Unit, his taking the case guarantees that there will be a lot of scrutiny attached to it. CEO Cha calls together an emergency meeting with his team and his clients.

Ji-won reveals recorded proof that the bank employees knew they were scamming the business owners. Many high-ranking employees made a lot of money from the scheme, and hiding that proof will be of the utmost importance if the prosecution issues search and seizure warrants. It’s depressing, but probably very realistic, how quickly new scumbag lawyers have filled the Scumbag Throne left vacant by Seok-ju.

We have a strange interlude with a new face I shall refer to as Angry Chairman until he becomes remotely relevant. He reams out his employees, who are tasked with figuring out where the money went in the bank case. He scolds them for not being as smart as the thieves who made off with the money in the first place. He also seems very interested to hear that Seok-ju has left his old firm, saying that it serves him right to come down from his lofty perch.

Sang-tae arrives at Seok-ju’s apartment for a bromantic steak dinner. It’s not all fun and games, however, as Sang-tae has offered to help Seok-ju find a bank employee they can trust to calculate how much the banks stood to gain from selling their foreign currency options.

There aren’t many banks left over after subtracting the ones that engaged in the scheme, but they manage to find one with an employee that Seok-ju trusts to run the calculations. He informs the employee of his intentions to help the wronged business owners, and promises to keep his name out of the matter.

The two lawyer buddies sprawl on the couch for some therapeutic gaming, and Sang-tae asks if Seok-ju remembers Jeon Ji-won. Seok-ju does, but only because of that one run-in when Ji-won dissed the length of his court statements. Sang-tae lets him know that Ji-won joined the firm just as he left, and that he took the case that Seok-ju turned down. Seok-ju had thought that the firm would have trouble without him, but it seems to be trucking along just fine. Sang-tae agrees, saying that he realized that truth a long time ago, which is why he always made sure to live happily, eat well, and not kill himself with work. It’s a nice philosophy in the abstract, although he admits he also paid alimony twice. Finally the call comes in from their bank informant, who says that the hidden benefits of the deal were humongous and that the banks certainly committed fraud.

Ji-yoon goes to see CEO Cha, to let him know that she wishes to move out of the apartment. She feels awkward staying there now that the original reason for the upgrade — Seok-ju — has resigned. He tells her she can stay there until the lease is up, but she promises to report to the CEO when she has moved out.

Ji-won meets with CEO Cha and his team for the bank case, running them through the various moves and countermoves that will likely happen once the case goes to trial. He impresses the boss with his meticulous attention to detail, and warns him about briefing the representatives from the bank about being deposed. CEO Cha also brings up the issue of search and seizure warrants that may be brought by the prosecution.

That’s exactly what Prosecutor Lee is up to, as she meets with her superior to request search warrants at any one of the banks suspected of fraud. She hopes to find enough evidence to reveal the scope of their crime to the public. Her boss reminds her of the need to be especially careful, now that the former Head Prosecutor of the Central Investigations Unit is involved in the case.

Ji-won talks privately with CEO Cha, warning him that the biggest problem facing them currently is the threat of search warrants. The evidence that they turn up could finish them in court. With that in mind, he offers to use his connections with different judges to make sure the request for a warrant is denied. CEO Cha says that blocking the warrant may be very difficult, but Ji-won is confident he can do it.

Prosecutor Lee takes the requests for search warrants to the judge’s office, even as Ji-won begins making calls. He knows the judge who will be receiving the requests, and asks him to examine the warrants “very carefully.” The judge observes that he’s only recently left the courthouse, and already he’s acting like a pro lawyer.

The papers go on a circuitous route to the judge and back again, through many pairs of hands until they end up with Prosecutor Lee. Every single request has been denied, with lack of evidence cited as the reason. Prosecutor Lee and her boss are dismayed and astounded, but there’s nothing they can do except reinforce the evidence and request a warrant later.

Unfortunately for the prosecution, the Attorney General visits to explicitly forbid them from trying to get another search warrant. He asks if they haven’t been humiliated enough already, but his involvement smells fishy. Prosecutor Lee and her boss know that something must be going on behind the scenes, and they remain determined to find a way to get those warrants.

A call comes in from Seok-ju, and Prosecutor Lee is understandably pissed off. The warrant requests were denied within two hours, which is hard to explain unless the Cha Yeong Woo firm had a hand in it. Seok-ju is unsurprised to hear it, as there are only two judges in charge of warrant applications, which makes back-door deals hard to block. Provoked, Prosecutor Lee demands to know why he’s calling the opposition.

“I left the firm,” Seok-ju says. Since her warrant application was denied and he has a few things he wants to confirm, he suggests that they help each other. He asks when they should meet, to which Prosecutor Lee replies: “Right now.”

COMMENTS

Avengers… Assemble! That’s the vibe I’m getting lately. Prosecutor Lee and Seok-ju will make one hell of a team, like Wonder Woman and Superman (DC? Marvel? Ah, whatever). Or possibly Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor, except Lex has lost his memory and now wants to use his intellect to uphold justice and defend the weak. And maybe Ji-yoon and Sang-tae will join our growing team of civil superheroes, giving them enough intellectual firepower to fight the Cha Yeong Woo Law Firm and the Seven Dark Banks of Evil in the Biggest Civil Lawsuit Ever. Now the forces of Mordor are mobilizing, and Seok-ju doesn’t even have a magic ring.

Enough of that. This episode, like many of the recent episodes, was impressive in terms of its careful construction. Everything fit together nicely, from Ji-won entering just as Seok-ju leaves to Ji-won’s call to the judge just as Prosecutor Lee submits her warrant applications. The building conflict was crafted with a satisfying amount of detail, and I loved the way that Seok-ju was gradually drawn into the case because of his simple desire to help his father.

All he wanted when he finally quit was to rest, but it was barely a day before he got sucked into the case he wanted to avoid in the first place, only on the opposite side. The story about his mother was very nicely placed, as it highlighted how much Seok-ju has changed. He used to resent his father for choosing a path that made his mother suffer. Now Seok-ju himself is choosing that same path out of love for his father and his newly discovered moral principles, even though he suffers for it in the form of his stress headaches. With such powerful, institutionalized enemies out there, the choice to live by one’s principles almost certainly becomes a losing proposition. But for Seok-ju, there’s no other choice he can make and still live with himself.

So that’s what I liked this time around. What I didn’t like was the continuing (relative) absence of Ji-yoon and Jung-seon. Jung-seon said maybe four lines, for instance. I get that she’s keeping her cards close to her chest at this point, but with only four episodes left I wonder how much development her relationships (with Seok-ju and her family) can possibly get, especially since they’ll have to compete with the Lawsuit to Rule Them All for airtime.

I have a similar problem with Ji-won. His character seems so interesting, with motivations that are hinted at but never revealed outright. I’ve been waiting for almost the entire show to see him and Seok-ju butt heads, but I always thought that it would be within the context of the firm before they actually clashed in the courtroom. CEO Cha told us several episodes ago that Ji-won was hired specifically for this case — I’m actually beginning to think that Ji-won’s character was only created for this case, too.

He finally gets some screentime, but 90% of that was explaining case details in a way that was really thinly disguised exposition to help us financially illiterate audience members follow along. There is still zero development between him and Ji-yoon, no further information about his motivation, and no actual interaction between him and Seok-ju.

There’s a thin line, I think, between a slow buildup and a failure to deliver meaningful character growth. I fear that A New Leaf is drifting closer and closer to the far side of that line, and as the final weeks approach and the magnitude of the cases only increases, it will be harder and harder to avoid that risk.

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"There is still zero development between him and Ji-yoon, no further information about his motivation, and no actual interaction between him and Seok-ju. There’s a thin line, I think, between a slow buildup and a failure to deliver meaningful character growth."

I see your point, but it's possible that the writer never intended any relationship between Ji-won and Ji-yoon in the first place. Also, I think one can represent a character with just a few strokes, especially if that character is not the central one (and increasingly I'm beginning to see ANL as the Kim Seok-ju Show - it's all about his progress, and everything else is subordinate to it). We can already tell that Ji-won is extremely ambitious, eager to display his abilities and as a result highly corruptible. And possibly just a bit hypocritical.

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what was that drama coffee house? where they change the female lead with the second lead half way through the drama I guessing because of fan feed back.... could this be the same thing happening? I have not yet watched the drama but perhaps that what happening here the lead female being shuffled back to second?

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Both female lead and second lead have a minimum screen time this episode, so I don't quite understand why you are under the impression that female lead is being shoved aside. Anyhow, I feel that this writer tries to convey a story- even male lead took a backseat in episode 10, which is very rare in K-drama.

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I think that the smart female prosecutor would be the best match.

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I completely agree that the female prosecutor would be a better match. She is beautiful and accomplished in her own right. She nows who she is and what she wants. I think she would be caring towards our lead but also make sure he stays on the path to redemption. For a quick wrap up since they cut the episodes we need a night of drinking for celebration and they wake up the next morning in bed. We fast forward a year we see Seok-ju working in his own firm with a baby strapped to him and Prosecutor Lee coming to pick them up to visit dad. The end
:)

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That's my take, too.

Actually, it's really refreshing, if that's how it plays out. I really didn't care for their dynamic.. a little too pat, a little too obvious, and her character just didn't seem to live in the same universe as his. They make sense in a mentor/mentee relationship. My only quibble is that her character doesn't need to exist here at all. His progress seems to come almost exclusively from the accident, from his relationship with his father, from his dog, for god sakes. She has had fairly little impact.

I would have preferred more development with the prosecutor, even if exclusively professional. I could seem the prosecutor, SJ, and Sang Tae having a really satisfying friendship/comradeship here.

This episode was the moment that I was like, "Did they just write Ji-yoon out? Because this feels like it just became a much more interesting drama."

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Oh, and excuse me while I suspend serious show-analysis for a minute to note: (i) After swopping his ahjusshi lawyer bouffant for what looks suspiciously like an "idol" hairdo, Seok-ju/KMM seems to have whittled about ten years off his age. (ii) That scene with him fiddling with his fishing rod (that's NOT a euphemism, btw) – hahahahaha!! Even Khan is laughing sceptically in a corner, thinking "If my learned friend manages to keep quiet long enough to catch a fish, I'll eat this entire rug."

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Thanks for the recap. I really needed it since I started to get muddled by all the guys in suits and needed sorting out of "who's who" and "what is going on".

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I must say I'm really loving the bromance between Seok joo and Sang Tae in this drama. Their camaraderie and easy affection could readily convince me that they are besties in real life. High points for seasoned actors, I guess this is how it feels like to watch professionals at work.

With four episodes to go I'm wondering if Seok joo will regain his memory before the show ends, especially when the drama is gaining momentum with this new case, and the complication of his father's amnesia.

Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Did Seok joo become a corrupt/unethical lawyer because he joined the law firm of Cha Young woo or was he recruited by the law firm because he was unethical and would do anything to win? Watching his behavior after his amnesia seems to beg the former conclusion rather than the latter; I can see Jeon Ji won following in Seok joo's footsteps and I'm having goosebumps watching the making of another clone of Kim Seok Joo.

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SJ will regain his memory alright; that's the only way that he can reveal that he never had that one-night stand w JY, who supposes that they did. Only then can they start with a clean slate, and develop whatever feelings they have for each other from there, while they work together on the same side for a change.

I don't believe that the writer intends for there to be a love story between those two while all these other things, like SJ being a cold cruel jerk, his amnesia, his new found conscience, his fiancee being a damsel in distress, are going on during much of the run of the show.

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I agree that Seok-ju's behaviour after the accident indicates that it was Cha that moulded him into the rottweiler that he became. Strangely, it's also his rude and aggressive behaviour in the first two episodes that distinguishes him from Ji-won in a good way - i.e. unlike Ji-won and Cha, who are charming and pleasant on the surface but actually unscrupulous and power-hungry, SJ never hid his desire to win at all costs. I'm probably reading too much into things here, but money and power per se didn't seem to be his goals in life; he just wanted to win, perhaps in order to show that, unlike Kim Senior, HE wasn't going to be victimised by government and big business.

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What a difference a new hairdo makes! It's just letting his hair down over his forehead, and I find him actually handsome, for the 1st time!

I like how shrewd n candid Cha is in saying: "For ppl who do not have the same thinking, it is best not to drag things out, cos it is a pain even to look at each other's faces."
Harsh but true.

Cha's law firm deals with real money:
The banks' scheme involves 1 trillion won (about 1 billion USD) in investors' money. Cha proposes to charge them 10% of that, i.e. 100 billion won. They are being sued for a compensation of 60% of that, i.e. 600 billion won. In return for that 100 billion won fee, Cha promises to reduce compensations to 300 billion won, thereby saving the banks 200 billion (or 200 million USD). Wow!
I was so impressed by these big nos. that I still remember them 5 days after watching this ep).

Very disappointed in Ji-won. He seemed such a good, upright person, wanting to do the right thing, serve his alma mater, teach law properly to his hoobae..... What happened to all that? The first thing he does after joining the firm is to lie to a judge who likes him in order to get that search warrant denied. He presents it as a scheme on the part of the prosecutor's office, which knows it has no case of fraud against the banks, but wants the search anyway, in preparation for civil suit down the road. That's low for a guy who was on a high perch a day ago.

Waiting for SJ to take over his dad's advocacy law firm to fight the system. I'm sure he can use it to his advantage just as well as he formerly did for different purposes.

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With the number of episodes crunched for time they are going to have to speed some events up

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The currency derivative case is now front and center. We learn that the type of derivative involved is options. We also learn that the way the option contract operates in this case is that, if Korean won “drops” against dollar (i.e., dollar weakens), the plaintiffs collect. (If Korean won drops below 900:1, or if it drops by more than 500, automatic termination kicks in.) But if Korean won “climbs” (i.e., dollar strengthens), their counterparts to the option (here, probably the banks) collect. (No automatic termination of the contract in that case.) In other words, when weak dollar hits exporters, the option contract takes money from counterparts to compensate exporters; but when strong dollar hits counterparts, the option contract takes money from exporters to compensate counterparts.

As more facts come to light, the case (both criminal and civil) seems to me less and less winnable for the small- to mid-size business plaintiffs.

First, as Partner Cha in this episode pointed out, until Korean won began “climbing” against dollar recently, the plaintiffs collected. They weren’t complaining while they were collecting.

Next, the 3-year option contract has two more years to go. So, the amount of loss or gain under the option contract will not be fixed until 24 months from today. Indeed, the plaintiffs may yet end up collecting more money than they pay under the contract. In the financial sense, this makes it premature for courts to hear the case, and trust me, defense lawyers will use it to move for its dismissal. In one scene, a plaintiff was heard saying that he must keep paying every month for two more years. That is not true. Not unless dollar stays strong the whole time for the next two years. What is the chance of that? No one knows. One more thing. Although the 3-year term is said to be unusually long, it is apparently not illegal under the Korean law.

Next, the episode made references to hidden loaded expenses, undisclosed sales commission, unequal option pricing and coercive sales pitch. This will boil down to disclosure. In general, no law requires banks or insurance companies to offer their products at cost. They are allowed to recoup expenses and even make (some) profit. Discrepancies between sales pitch and written disclosure can subject the banks to regulatory fines, but without evidence of organized & intentional efforts by the banks to defraud customers, a criminal conviction is out of question and civil remedies may be meaningless. Keep in mind that the banks did not sell it to Jiyoon’s aunt. The business buyers who bought it should have remembered the maxim, Buyer Beware.

Finally, the plaintiffs are not in the business of currency trading. Yet, the plaintiff businesses clearly betted way too much, far in excess of the legitimate business needs (i.e., to protect itself from unpredictable currency movements). If this were regular hedging in the normal course of operating a business,...

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Shooting your next episode days or hours before it airs must be like flying by the seat of your pants. I get why episodes are shot as the drama progresses. But must live shooting be stretched to its extreme? I should think that a sane business practice demands sufficient extra time for edit/re-edit, reshoot and special effects and for unforeseen contingencies (like that eye injury). In the US, this sort of practice will keep you out of the market for completion insurance and bond coverage.

If episodes were shot and in the can even one week before its air date, A New Leaf would have avoided scheduling conflicts with Kim Myung Min. This is where things don’t add up. Didn’t two-episode preemption in the past two weeks already give it one extra week of production time? I am guessing that the entire team just took that time off. So fly-by-night.

Well, what does losing two episodes from its slot mean for the remaining 4 episodes? A New Leaf has three pending cases (four, if you divide the bank case into criminal and civil). They are: Sea Star/Joowon, Baekdoo, and Dosi/Mirae/Gookje Banks (criminal and civil). Because of the cut, now Sea Star might be dumped from the story (it was absent for a long while). But, do you remember the mob boss case? I suspect that Seokjoo’s mob connection might be resurrected for a breakthrough in the bank case. The Taejin chairman, who owes Seokjoo a personal debt, will assist, too. And the Baekdoo case and the secret overseas bank accounts will bring down the CHA Firm.

Or not. What do I know?

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Hi Lord Byron, could I ask a question? The Angry Chairman in the powder blue suit - is he Baekdoo's CEO, and is Baekdoo the company suing Cha's firm for dual representation?

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I don't believe the issue of whether Seok joo had a one night stand with Ji Yoon is at all central to the story. From what I see, they've already moved past that to develop a mentor - mentee relationship of mutual respect, and if you recall the first episode, Seok Joo denied spending the night with her, however, she didn't believe him. I don't know how many protestations of his would convince her that nothing happened, even if he did regain his memory.

I agree, I don't think the writer ever had the intention of setting up a workplace romance between them, even though we were fooled at first that they were headed in that direction. Smoke and mirrors I guess. With the introduction of the fiancee and with only 4 episodes left, the drama had better not go there. It would seem too abrupt and too fake to introduce a love story between them at this point. And I for one am happy with that. It is possible to be opposite sex colleagues who work closely together, with mutual respect and no romantic entanglements.

Speaking of which, I see Ji Yoon getting over her crush on Ji won very quickly, especially as he is leaving the righteous path and is meandering in the unethical practices of Cha Young woo's law firm.

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Whether SJ had a 1-night stand w JY is iIndeed Not central to the story. Nobody says it is. What it is is a loose end that needs to be tied up. She has misunderstood that they slept together thru out basically the whole show. That misunderstanding needs to be cleared up. SJ regaining memory is the only way to clear it up.
A good show mops up after itself. If this show doesn't tie up certain loose ends, like SJ remembering that woman friend of JY's, whom we saw during the wedding in ep 1, or why SJ has been so mad w his father that he felt the need to do the exact opposite thing in law as his father, as an act of rebellion and protest, then it may be a result of the show being cut short by 2 eps, and it being screwed up by the programming changes.

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Thanks for the recap Purplecow!

Yes to the bromance of Park Sang-Tae and Kim Seok-Joo.

Kim Seok-Joo pre/post amnesia has innate qualities and talents as a lawyer. The nature vs. nurture debate: Did Kim Seok-Joo inherit the talent from his father or was he born with natural skills and brainpower needed to be a high caliber lawyer?

Hopefully the relationship between Kim Seok-Joo and Lee Ji-Yoon will remain limited to mentor/mentee and avoid crossing over into romantic territory.

I was really glad that Kim Seo-Hyung's character Prosecutor Lee Sun-Hee appeared in the plot/storyline again. Lovely to see a female character with confidence and her own brain. This time around she and Kim Seok-Joo will be fighting on the same side instead of as opposing counsel in the courtroom.

Park Min-Young's character Lee Ji-Yoon is an intern but in each episode she has to ask her peers about the definition of certain legal terminology and what the legal process and application of general rules to particular cases actually means. When this happens, I find myself questioning what did she really learn in law school? It had to be more than just how to do research, investigations, and take notes.

The styling of Prosecutor Lee Sun-Hee in A New Leaf gives the impression of being more appropriate in the workplace as a lawyer at a conservative law firm than some of tight fitted pants Park Min-Young has worn.

Kim Myung-Min and Kim Seo-Hyung have really good chemistry together. Their characters Kim Seok-Joo and Lee Sun-Hee would have made a fun and interesting OTP couple on their own to watch in this drama or another totally different drama.

Of course, I've liked all of the scenes with Kim Myung-Min and Chae Jung-An as well.

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Park Min-Young’s character Lee Ji-Yoon is an intern but in each episode she has to ask her peers about the definition of certain legal terminology and what the legal process and application of general rules to particular cases actually means. When this happens, I find myself questioning what did she really learn in law school? It had to be more than just how to do research, investigations, and take notes

I would think that real life experience is quite different from what one learns in books and from schools. Park Min Young's character shows that she has the rudimentary knowledge of the legal aspects of cases, however, most of her questions stem from how to apply them to real life cases in a given situation. Something which I'm not at all surprised that she needs to clarify.

I see her as a rookie learning the ropes, who needs to check on things with more experienced professionals to ensure she's making the correct assessment or right judgement. This is basically what any trained professional would do who's learning the ropes and I don't see her behavior as being inconsistent with that.

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That is kind of what I see also. She is, after all, an intern, not a full fledged experienced lawyer. Knowing what the words say in the book is not always the same as knowing what they actually mean in the court system and real life.

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Oh show, stop bringing adorable bromance of Seok Joo and Sang Tae! We only have 4 episodes left...
I'm not ready at all.

What I really like from this show, even though romance is not the center plot and just side-plot, you can see sweetness in some crumbs of romance or love line. I'm fine if there's no love-line in this one as well. After all, what makes this drama standout is the interaction within the characters and how people can be really corrupt in front of justice, power, money, etc...

The financial thing is giving me headache but I'm not gonna complaint. The story is nicely written. No one ever seems straight up good or bad. Just in real life we can't have all friends or all enemies.

Khan and Seok Joo is adorable too. I love this two together.
Thanks for the recap!

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can't wait for the next episodes.... ^_^

thanks for the recap.

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Thank you for the recap, purplecow.. everyone and Lord Byron too.. im waiting for Ppasun to shows up..

I do not have anything to add but on the PPL.. im still fixated on KSJ's fridge/grill.

And KSJ's father should really tell his son about the Alzheimer next episode.

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Hehe, thanks for waiting for my two cents.

This biggest civil lawsuit ever is based on an actual occurrence referred to as the "KIKO (short for kick-in and kick-out) incident" in Korea. I think other commenters here did a good job explaining what it is. Maybe this illustration helps.

Underlying asset: exchange rate of KRW:US$
Kick out barrier: KRW900:US$1
Kick in barrier: KRW1100:US$1
Agreed on rate: KRW1000:US$1
Amount: $1M

Let's say a Korean exporter signed a contract to sell some merchandise to an American importer for $1M. At the time of getting paid, the market exchange rate is KRW900:US$1 (within the set barrier). Exercising their option, the exporter still can get KRW1000 per $1, up to $1M, thus getting KRW100 more per dollar. If the rate falls below the KRW900:US$1 knock out barrier, the option is automatically cancelled, thus protecting the exchanging bank. On the other hand, if the exchange rate is KRW1100:US$1 on the day of the payment, the exporter can either exchange for KRW1000 (thus losing KRW100/$) or sell at the market exchange rate (no loss). But when the exchange rate exceeds the KRW1100:US$1 kick in barrier, the exporter has to pay the bank twice the difference. So for example, if the rate is KRW1200:US$1, the exporter has to pay the exchanging bank KRW400/$.

The real life KIKO case ended last summer with the court finding that the options were valid arms-length contracts that were not unfair or unconscionable.

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More than anything, I think the problem was that those evil banks "tied" these options with loans to the small to mid-sized companies. Unless the companies bought those derivative products, the banks would not make any loans to them. In Korea, it is very difficult for small and mid-sized businesses to get the financing they need and when their go-to banks insist on their purchase of these options in return for granting their loan applications, they probably had no choice but to give in.

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Thanks for the explanation. Do you know if anything happened after the case ended favourably for the banks? E.g. did the small/mid-sized companies appeal?

If your account of the case plus Lord Byron's comments are anything to go by, Seok-ju and co. are gonna to have a tough fight ahead. And the series might not end with any clear-cut victory. Not a bad thing in itself, but very depressing on top of the two-episode cut. Sigh.

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That is some really interesting info right there I must say. It kinda gives another more modern political level to the current arch of the show. It will be very interesting to see how the court in this dramaverse will rule in this case and what that says about the shows underlying political tone as a whole.

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Thanks for the recap.

This show is one of the few kdramas I've watched that seem as if they had someone smart from the profession they are portraying of set to give solid advice about what might be possible/plausible and smart.

I too, felt the absence of the women 'leads' in this episode. Even though I feel as if the romance has gone by the wayside I don't think its disappearance sinks the show.

As much as I like Ji-Yoon she doesn't seem right for Seok-Ju. I keep thinking Jung-Sun's maturity goes better with Seok Ju. AND I'm also thinking Seok-Ju also has great chemistry with Prosecutor Lee.

I also saw Beethoven Virus and KMM did not mesh romantically with the cute bubbley female lead either.

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I wonder if the episodes that were cut out of this show contained the possible love-lines that were hinted at in the earlier episodes. If that is the case, that's sort of sad. I say "sort of" b/c i don't' really ship SJ with anyone though he has good chemistry with all the female leads. Also, I ship JW with me…heehee…xD…or i ship JW with his former co-star in Empress Ki, Ha Ji Won, or with Kim So Eun, in Happiness in the Wind… ;))))) But JW and JY look good together too…hmmm…but i'm mostly intrigued with all the lawyering that goes on in the show. I hope most, if not all, loose ends are tied nice and neat at the end. Please, writer-nim, don't let us down…

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i got strange reminder of jerry maguire

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In my limited "Watching Experience," a show getting MORE episodes doesn't make it better. (Usually it just means more filler tropes.)
But I have no "W--E--" in what happens when a good show gets less time to fill. I'm curious as to how the writer will handle this. (Thank you "Lord of Dramas.")

I hope it all makes sense, because I don't want another K-Drama (in my memory) ruined because the last 4 episodes don't seem to connect to the first 3/4's of the show.

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My fear is that some of the unresolved questions will stay unresolved and unanswered. Cutting two episodes near the end of the show is quite a chop job, and I am afraid it will mess up the entire ending.

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Why SJ wear shoes in his own instead of house slippers. Look at ST, he made SJ house like his own. I love this bromance and my OTP too. SJ and Khan.

And I think that ST will be with JY aunt and where is her brother. I don't see him past few episode.

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There is so much still to do 4 episodes does not seem like enough time for everything so I wonder whats gonna get cut. Two things that upset me that was mentioned in the reviewer comments, is the lack of any build up of the love square or the foe-mance between SJ and JW. JW's character is so underutilized, it's a wonder he took the role in the first place. It would be great if he started working for the firm earlier so we could of seen him interact with SJ and JY which would of jumpstarted the romance. Especially when JS finally got into the picture and Chairman Gwon could of started seeing JW is a more suitable suitor while SJ became more of a liability. It all could of been so perfect.

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I think this is where Choi Hee-ra should fall to her knees and beg forgiveness for failing to adhere to the "two male leads plus two female leads equal a love square" template.

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I love this show! It has heart, grounded yet fun, and very very educational. For a financial dummy like me, it is really a good warning about the care when we buy options or other financial products. I was not aware of them before.

Thumbs up!

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." The other uncle worries that Jung-seon will betray the family for love, just like her mother, while Chairman Gwon says that Jung-seon may break off the marriage by herself."

If betraying the family means not going to jail I hope every descendant of the family from here on "betrays" the family.

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Prosecutor Lee and Seok-ju will make such a great team. Imagine if they ran their own law firm! She is so accomplished and has her own stuff going on which I really like from female characters. It would have been better if she was the lead but whatever. I love her!

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