A New Leaf: Episode 15
Seok-ju’s team has assembled to fight the notorious Cha Yeong Woo Firm, but the funny thing is, he never asked for help, and none of them actually belong there: an angry and misplaced prosecutor, a loyal friend betraying his own firm, and a principled yet unrealistic intern. Somehow, they’ve all found their way to his small office, where they care about the work being done and where the fight is worth it. It’s a team effort all around, and when Seok-ju finds himself in hardship and doubt, they’ve got his back. Who knew Seok-ju had the power to bring together a team?
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Seok-ju visits his father’s house with his fishing equipment, ready for a father-son fishing session that weekend. But Seok-ju’s father looks at his son curiously, not saying anything. Seok-ju interprets the silence as rejection and puts his equipment away. But in my eyes, Seok-ju’s father’s onto something…
As Ji-won is leaving his office, he sees Ji-yoon still working. She’s finishing up some paperwork, but he notes that she’s speaking as if she’ll be leaving soon. They sit down to talk about her decision. She confirms that she’ll be leaving, not because of Seok-ju, but because she feels as if she’s betraying herself. Ji-won seems to understand.
Ji-yoon asks why Ji-won left his position as a judge to become a lawyer, and she candidly states that she liked him better as a judge. She also notes that of the few cases she’s seen at the firm so far, this particular case seems to be quite intense. Ji-won responds that it’s probably because of Seok-ju and asks what she thinks being a judge is like.
She begins to describe her perspective on the ideal judge making righteous decisions, but Ji-won interrupts her with the reality. It’s a lonely job, in which you isolate yourself from others in fear of people who will use your power to their advantage. Over the years, your circle of friends becomes smaller, and you come to only associate with lawyers and other judges you’re comfortable with. The life of a judge is set, but as a lawyer, you can do much more.
Then Ji-won asks if Ji-yoon plans on working for Seok-ju. Though she expresses doubts about Seok-ju accepting her to work for him, he assures her she’ll get the job.
The next morning, Ji-yoon submits her resignation letter and packs up her things. An associate shows disappointment at her decision, as it seemed she was adjusting well. Yeong-woo also comes out to say his goodbye. Ji-yoon apologizes and thanks him for the opportunity. And with that, she takes her last elevator ride out of the firm.
Yeong-woo, his vice-president, and Ji-won assemble as the Corrupt Trio to plan more manipulation. Yeong-woo recommends that they should push for a Supreme Court decision. As long as they get the majority vote, they’ll be safe, and the rest of the trials will follow precedent. So basically, they’re game plan is to put all their eggs in one basket. Go big, or go home.
Ji-yoon finds Seok-ju’s new office and runs into Sang-tae, who’s just finished his second round of auditions. They head in together, where Prosecutor Lee greets them. She’s been having trouble finding a German translator, but she remembers that Sang-tae speaks German and asks him to translate a ruling. He seems flustered that she still remembers this and walks over to Seok-ju. Heh.
Seok-ju’s been catching up on the news, and Sang-tae interrupts him to ask why Prosecutor Lee is here so often. But Seok-ju turns the question around and asks Sang-tae why he’s here so often: to help him or to see Prosecutor Lee? Sang-tae continues to translate documents and replies that he’s just killing two birds with one stone. Score!
Ji-yoon comes in to congratulate Seok-ju on his new office, but he doesn’t welcome her. He assumes that she was sent by Ji-won, as she’s been meeting his clients under Ji-won’s orders. Seok-ju returns the business cards that she distributed to the clients and tells Prosecutor Lee to hide the important documents from the sneaky Cha Yeong Woo Firm employee. Ji-yoon takes that as a hint to get out and reluctantly leaves.
Prosecutor Lee follows her out, and Sang-tae tells Seok-ju not to be so harsh. Ji-yoon seems to be having a hard time at the firm because it doesn’t match her personality. Seok-ju replies that interns aren’t supposed to have personality, and the firm is a perfect training ground for her to learn some realism and practicality. She can’t go anywhere with the experience she has now, so she should stick with it. Eh, a little too late now.
The two ladies sit at a café to talk about the case. Prosecutor Lee says that she’s done all she can for the case before being transferred to a different division and explains to Ji-yoon – who wants to become a prosecutor one day – that this is the extent of her job. As a prosecutor, no matter how dedicated you are, you still have to follow orders from superiors. If you’re off the case, you’re off; whereas a lawyer can keep digging. That’s why she’s considering resigning.
Ji-yoon’s about to admit to resigning as well, but Sang-tae beats her to it. He scolds her for making such a rash decision and tells her that Seok-ju isn’t even continuing his practice after this case. He laments this whole situation: the lawyer quits to take a break then sets up a practice, the prosecutor comes to work in a lawyer’s office, and now the intern fearlessly quits. Seok-ju’s not even a good teacher. Ji-yoon’s doubtful as well but still asks if there’s a chance of her becoming his intern.
Seok-ju gets a call from the court notifying him that the case will be tried in public. Right after his call, Prosecutor Lee and Ji-yoon walk back into the office. Prosecutor Lee tells him that Ji-yoon quit the firm, so they can use her at the office. Seok-ju seems reluctant, but Prosecutor Lee convinces him that they do could use a few extra hands.
Ji-yoon uses the Watch Scandal to her advantage, telling Seok-ju that she promises to never mention “that day” again. That makes Seok-ju uneasy, and he gives her permission to work in his office temporarily.
Seok-ju attends the pre-trial meeting with Ji-won, where the official explains that they decided to make this case a public trial because of the national attention it has been receiving. They’re told how to prepare their presentation for the judges.
Ji-won and Seok-ju return to their respective offices to do so. Back in his office, Seok-ju holds a meeting with Prosecutor Lee and Sang-tae, focusing on the impact of the bank’s fraudulent loans on both middle and high-tier companies. Ji-won does the same back at the firm but decides to focus on the contract aspect of the case, expecting convoluted wordplay if he delves into the specificities of the loans.
Seok-ju’s coalition is hard at work, and Ji-yoon satisfies her intern duties by delivering coffee. She asks if the banks will really go broke with the 70% compensation rate, and Seok-ju says they won’t, though their opponents will argue otherwise. Ji-yoon suggests they analyze the specific impact of the loans on the middle-tier companies, since they have a significant number of employees and are interconnected with many other businesses. They decide to make some calculations to prove these facts.
Back at his father’s house Seok-ju meets with his clients to explain the public Supreme Court trial that’s expected to take place. Although the clients look hopeful that the Supreme Court judges will showcase opposing opinions, Seok-ju looks worried. After they leave, Seok-ju looks over the judges’ profiles and explains to his father that they all seem similar. There’s barely any diversity.
Seok-ju’s father criticizes the Supreme Court for becoming so weak and corrupt over the years, and Seok-ju notes the inevitable influence large firms have nowadays – setting up your own practice is not as practical anymore. He asks his father what he’s going to do after this case and suggests that they go fishing.
But this is too out of character for Seok-ju, and his father finally pops the question: What’s wrong? He remembers Seok-ju’s headaches and asks about the reasoning behind his behavior. Why did he leave the firm? Why did he take this case? Seok-ju pauses and says that he’ll tell him after the trial.
D-Day. Seok-ju and Ji-won enter the courthouse filled with journalists and cameras, and the trial begins. Seok-ju’s father and the Cha Yeong Woo Firm employees watch the trial on TV as both sides present their opening statements. Seok-ju argues that the businesses were not properly notified of the risks in fluctuating exchange rates; if they had known, they wouldn’t have fallen into this trap. Ji-won argues that his opposition is only emphasizing a vague sense of risk, without any specific evidence.
Seok-ju continues his argument with evidence from abroad, which shows that in similar cases, the banks were charged with fraud. Ji-won refutes his allegation by saying that these were default risks, and that the loan offer was quite standard for this country.
One of the judges asks for an explanation on why the banks did not provide a contract voiding option for when the exchange rate went up. Such an option for the decrease and increase of the exchange rate would have provided a balance, at which both parties would have found some common ground. But Ji-won argues that the businesses would have taken advantage of such option, and he has the vital evidence – a bank and business conversation record – to prove it.
At the firm, an associate asks Sang-tae about the contradiction that Ji-won just presented. There are questions to be asked, but Sang-tae says that if the judges don’t ask about it, then that’s it. The judges will just take Ji-won’s statement as is.
All eyes are on the trial, as the judges continue to ask questions. Yeong-woo watches from his office, and we even get a small glimpse of Jung-seon watching the trial as well.
The trial comes to an end, and the Chief Justice promises to land a decision based on the law. Both parties leave the courthouse, and while the clients still seem hopeful because of the trial’s scale, Seok-ju still looks doubtful.
Back at the office, Seok-ju’s team debriefs. Ji-yoon seems hopeful that the judges will come to the right decision; even the Supreme Courts of other countries ultimately ruled in favor of the affected businesses. But Sang-tae doubts the judges, cynically analyzing that they all seem to side with the banks. Not one judge questioned Ji-won’s contradictory statement about the possibility of businesses benefitting from the increased exchange rate.
Seok-ju concludes their discussion by asking what they’ll do with their lives after the case is over. “You’ll have nowhere to go to fulfill your boredom.” Heh.
As Prosecutor Lee and Sang-tae leave, Baekdu Soju’s Chairman Jin rolls up to Seok-ju’s office. He disapproves of the tiny office, unsure of how a lawyer with such humble surroundings will be able to face a large corporate team.
As they’re packing up documents, Ji-yoon and Seok-ju run into each other, which results in some awkward closeness and eye contact. Seok-ju asks if she feels anything: “Are you nervous or is your heart racing?” Ji-yoon assures him that she was simply surprised, and Seok-ju seems relieved. He now seems sure that nothing happened that day.
Chairman Jin’s assistant walks into the office, and Seok-ju sits down to discuss their case. He denies them, not showing much interest in these large corporate cases. Plus, Chairman Jin doesn’t seem too fond of him. But the assistant leaves the case files and says he’ll contact him soon.
The trial decision day has arrived, and both parties head to court. In an unfortunate turn of events, the court rules in favor of the banks, and they are only required to fulfill a 15% compensation. This Supreme Court ruling has overruled the previous 70% compensation decision that Seok-ju won.
The team gathers back at Seok-ju’s office, everyone except Seok-ju, that is. They wonder why the judges agreed to a public trial if they were already at a unanimous decision. Sang-tae presumes that the judges wanted to show some sort of deference towards the affected businesses. Seok-ju is with the business owners, and the trio worries about how he’s taking this shocking result.
Yeong-woo meets with his clients, who apologize for doubting the firm’s abilities. They’re impressed by Ji-won’s skills and thank him for his work. After they leave, Ji-won shares his thoughts on winning this case: It’s a little unsettling. Yeong-woo explains that a lawyer’s job is to lobby more than anything, and he gives Ji-won a pat on the back before he leaves. Despite winning this trial, Ji-won still seems a bit bothered.
Seok-ju meets with his clients for soju as they discuss their gloomy reality. They’ve lost their machinery and employees; all they have is debt. Sang-tae joins them, as one client expresses his desire to ruin the banks. After the clients leave, Seok-ju continues to drink with Sang-tae, unnerved by the outcome of the trial.
In his drunken state, Seok-ju goes to his father’s house. He expresses his disappointment in the decision, telling his father that he didn’t expect a unanimous decision in favor of the banks. Distressed, Seok-ju falls asleep as his father looks at him with concern.
The next morning, Seok-ju wakes up with a hangover, and his father asks him why he left the firm. As promised Seok-ju tells him the truth, that he’s lost his memory. The only memory he recalls is of his father being arrested and taken away in his childhood. Seok-ju adds that he knows that his father didn’t really like him. But his father denies this. Although he did not approve of the direction Seok-ju decided to take, he never disliked him. His father doesn’t show much of a reaction, but after Seok-ju leaves, he breaks down in tears.
Chairman Jin visits Seok-ju’s office with a case full of money. Seok-ju still refuses to take the case, but Chairman Jin taunts him. Does he feel lost and beaten up after leaving the firm? But Seok-ju has his reasons. The records show that Chairman Jin carelessly spent his money establishing other subsidiaries. Although Chairman Jin insists that he did so to gain the respect he never got for being a soju company, Seok-ju makes his point clear. He’s not taking the case.
The trio enters the office to observe this scene. Chairman Jin admits that his company started to falter under his unstable management, but he elaborates that this isn’t the reason for his company’s crisis. He poured his money into consulting services to save his company, but his money was manipulated and used on his own company’s bonds. His overseas connections to Hong Kong were even cut off, so he’s stuck in overwhelming debt. Only the Cha Yeong Woo Firm would be bold enough to do this.
Seok-ju sees some merits in his argument but still decides against the case. As Chairman Jin walks out, Sang-tae and Prosecutor Lee discuss possible directions to go with the case, and Sang-tae tells Chairman Jin that he’ll try to convince his friend to take it.
Ji-yoon seems to be against Seok-ju taking this case, but Sang-tae and Prosecutor Lee think otherwise. Sang-tae does agree that Chairman Jin is a bit irritable but still thinks Seok-ju should take the case. Prosecutor Lee repeats his advice to her when she wanted to quit her prosecutor position. Even though you have 99 reasons not to, if you have one reason, you should do it. Sang-tae and Prosecutor Lee even come up with an analogy. “You get over a bad break-up with another girl, and you get over a bad trial with another one.” That’s one way to put it.
Look who’s back! It’s Jung-seon, back from her trip to the Philippines. Her grandfather asks if she’s made up her mind about Seok-ju, and she replies that she has.
Jung-seon makes her way over to Seok-ju’s office, and Seok-ju seems pleasantly surprised by her visit. She takes him out for Chinese food, but she admits that she doesn’t particularly enjoy the food because it reminds her of hard times before she came to live with her grandfather. She never wanted to go back to those memories.
They take a walk, and Seok-ju asks if she’s still uneasy about his current state. She admits that she is, but not as much as she expected. Although she initially wanted Seok-ju’s memory to return so that all could return to normal, she’s curious about the new Seok-ju now. He takes that as an implication that she didn’t particularly like the old him, but she says that wasn’t necessarily the case either. She’s willing to try out their relationship and see where it goes.
Upon returning to his office, Seok-ju is followed in by Chairman Jin, here to advocate for his case again. He’s come with a gift, and this time it’s not money but his newest soju – not even on the market. They’ve got many more samples in the lab, but they’re unable to continue because of the lack of funding. Chairman Jin gets on his knees, desperate to save his company, and Seok-ju reluctantly agrees.
He gets briefed on the current state of the case. Goldrich, the company they’re opposing, sought out Cha Yeong Woo’s connections to the judges. Through a golf meeting, they were able to convince to judge to lean in their direction. Chairman Jin proudly tells Seok-ju that he had someone on surveillance to capture this meeting.
Seok-ju orders Chairman Jin not to leak these pictures anywhere, but it’s too late. Chairman Jin already submitted them to court, unaware of the damage he’s done.
At the firm, Yeong-woo gets news of the leaked pictures. Chairman Jin has just threatened one of the highest ranking officials in the court. He just dug his own grave. Yeong-woo sits back and smiles, amused by this turn of events.
It’s nearing the end, and I’ve got to admit that these last few episodes are probably going to be my favorite ones. They’ve built up to this finale pretty well, and I’m happy with where we’re headed into the last episode. We’ve got the underdog crew together to fight The Man, and I know which side I’m rooting for. That being said, I feel like we’re missing a bit of nuance and gray area from before. It was always clear that Yeong-woo wasn’t a very nice guy, but now he’s just the Evil Mastermind of All Things Corrupt. We don’t have a background story or anything. He’s just the embodiment of corruption. But I guess true colors come out under pressure, and Yeong-woo’s the evil side of this dichotomy.
Ji-won had a great moment in the beginning of this episode, which finally gave me a reason to sympathize with his character. He gave a profound explanation for his decision to become a lawyer, and I almost felt sorry for the circumstances he ended up in. I mean, he left his position as a judge to escape the inevitable isolation and loneliness, but he’s landed himself at the firm, where the seclusion is basically the same. Oh, and with a whole lot of unlawful dealings on top of that. And he gives this explanation to Ji-yoon – the only person he knew coming in – who plans on leaving the firm. Now all he’s got is his competitive drive to push him through the next trials.
Seok-ju, on the other hand, found exactly what he was looking for without even looking. He wanted to take a break, but he lands himself a job working in his father’s office. He didn’t have any workers, but his friends appear and form a team. I love how all the pieces just came together, and I lurrvve how Seok-ju’s office became a little rendezvous for his team. Even when Seok-ju completely loses the trial with a unanimous vote, the trio still comes back for more, pushing him to take on more cases. They’re his cheerleaders, his workers, and his friends; and I really enjoyed that dynamic.
This new Seok-ju is slowly becoming the only Seok-ju that really matters anymore. I think everyone who needs to know already knows about Seok-ju’s condition (maybe except Prosecutor Lee?), and now that his father knows, I’m wondering if getting his memory back is still important. In addition to the final soju case, I think this is the only thing left to resolve in our finale. He’s already become a new person to his father, Jung-seon, Ji-yoon, and Sang-tae. I don’t think that will change when he retrieves his memory. To me, his alter ego seems to be a thing of the past.
The missing ladies are finally back! Ji-yoon and Jung-seon make a reappearance, and although their roles weren’t too significant, I’m glad they still exist. Ji-yoon made her decision to leave the firm, and though I’m glad she followed her principles and joined Team Rendezvous, I agree with Sang-tae. The show portrayed her as a character who would make this decision, so I don’t have a problem with that. But in my mind, her decision seemed quite unrealistic and impractical. I would feel so anxious without a game plan after I quit, so kudos to her for making that brave decision.
I guess Jung-seon was just having a blast in the Philippines and forgot to show up in the previous episode, but it’s nice to see her again, this time opening up to Seok-ju. I’m glad that she’s as intrigued as I am about this new Seok-ju, and I’m happy to see both of them in a good place. They don’t need to be lovey dovey, just comfortable and happy. It’s a step in the right direction, and I can ship it.
Aww man, only one more episode to go! But it was getting so good… Despite my complaints on the pace of this show, I did grow to really like it. Great acting and writing, and just the right pinch of humor and poignancy. I’m sad to see it go, but I guess I’d rather it have a solid and shorter run than a diluted extension. Gimme a good finale, New Leaf! You and I both deserve it.
- A New Leaf: Episode 14
- A New Leaf: Episode 13
- A New Leaf: Episode 12
- A New Leaf: Episode 11
- A New Leaf gets pruned to 16 episodes
- A New Leaf: Episode 10
- Election preemptions for Wednesday dramas
- A New Leaf: Episode 9
- MBC preempts Wednesday’s episode of A New Leaf
- A New Leaf: Episode 8
- A New Leaf: Episode 7
- A New Leaf: Episode 6
- A New Leaf: Episode 5
- A New Leaf: Episode 4
- A New Leaf: Episode 3
- A New Leaf: Episode 2
- A New Leaf: Episode 1