Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 14
Deul-ho learns from his mistakes and bides his time in order to defeat Chairman Jung once and for all. But it wouldn’t be Jo Deul-ho if he weren’t poking his nose in other people’s business and bothering Chairman Jung whenever possible. With a new case introduced this episode, Deul-ho adds more ammunition to his arsenal, and throws down the gauntlet. Let the battle begin!
EPISODE 14 RECAP
The mysterious man in black takes Eun-jo as hostage and tries to escape from Ae-ra and Dae-soo. Deul-ho blocks his path, and tells him to let the girl go. He holds up Chairman Jung’s slush fund ledger, and offers to burn it in exchange for him letting Eun-jo free. Ae-ra and Dae-soo hop up and down, shouting that the ledger is too important.
The man in the black orders Deul-ho to open the book, but before he does, Deul-ho asks if he’s the one who murdered Lee Myung-joon. Deul-ho takes the man’s silence as a yes, and opens the ledger. He begins to rip out pages and feed the fire as Ae-ra and Dae-soo wail in the background.
Dae-soo takes a step forward and swings his bat, but in the short scuffle, Ae-ra accidentally hits Dae-soo with her taser. Deul-ho uses the confusion to pull Eun-jo away from her captor. The man in black retaliates, and Deul-ho expertly blocks his attacks. However, the man in black proves to be a difficult opponent, and pins Deul-ho against the wall.
As Deul-ho tries to hold him off, detectives with guns arrive, and order the man to drop the knife. The man surrenders and is whisked away. Ji-wook (who arrived with the detectives) confronts Deul-ho and asks about the ledger. Deul-ho motions towards the fire, and Ji-wook watches the book burn.
Ji-wook reports to Chief Prosecutor Shin that the real culprit was apprehended, but Chief Prosecutor Shin doesn’t even look up from his newspaper. Ji-wook tells his father bitterly that the ledger was burned, so now he should be able to rest easy.
When Ji-wook leaves, Chief Prosecutor Shin receives a call from Chairman Jung, and reassures the chairman that the ledger was destroyed. Chairman Jung appears to be wary of the chief prosecutor and orders his secretary to double check his story.
Deul-ho watches Lee Myung-joon’s sister board a plane, and in voiceover, she tells him to stop further murders from happening. Deul-ho walks away and pulls out a receipt for a storage locker which we see, in flashback, was given to him by Lee Myung-joon’s sister. Deul-ho opens the locker and takes the ledger within.
Everyone gathers for a meeting at the office, and Ae-ra explains to the group that the prosecutors wrapped up the murder as under the “personal revenge” umbrella without even a single mention of the ledger or Chairman Jung. Eun-jo is indignant at the injustice, and Dae-soo complains about the corruption. However, Deul-ho is calm and says that they expected as much.
Dae-soo asks Deul-ho how he’ll be compensated, only for Deul-ho to cheekily ask if he’s talking about his butt, haha. But no, Dae-soo yells at Deul-ho to compensate him for his account book. In flashback, we see that Deul-ho dragged Dae-soo behind a building and asked for his account book, claiming that he might need it for something important.
Back in the present, Eun-jo connects the dots and realizes that the real ledger wasn’t burned. Deul-ho just tells Dae-soo to use the copied version the prosecutors took, and Ae-ra good-naturedly smacks Dae-soo on the back, causing the poor man to spasm in pain. She tries to help him, but Dae-soo runs away, worried that she’ll taser him again. Once alone, Eun-jo asks Deul-ho where the real ledger might be, but Deul-ho avoids answering her question.
The evil trio meet in Chairman Jung’s office, where Chief Prosecutor Shin seems sure that there wasn’t enough time for Deul-ho to make a duplicate ledger to burn. He warns Chairman Jung to discuss any actions involving Deul-ho with him first in the future, which the chairman takes as admonishment.
Chief Prosecutor Shin says that nothing good comes from bothering a crazy dog, and Chairman Jung asks if he’s talking about him, or Deul-ho. The air turns tense, and Attorney Jang attempts to pacify the situation. Chairman Jung threatens to kill Deul-ho if he interferes one more time, and the others look away in silence.
Chief Prosecutor Shin and Attorney Jang meet outside to privately talk about Chairman Jung and voice their worries. Chief Prosecutor Shin brings up Hae-kyung and her recent stint, and Attorney Jang apologizes for his daughter’s actions. Chief Prosecutor Shin muses that every parent’s trouble stems from his or her child.
Sitting in an empty office, Deul-ho flips through the ledger and narrates that he was too impatient. Thus, he fell into a trap, and a man died as a result. Deul-ho thinks to himself that in order to catch a large prey, he needs a dense net and a sturdy trap.
Deul-ho meets with Assemblyman Kim, and asks him if he’s heard about Chairman Jung’s slush fund ledger. The assemblyman laughs that it’s just a rumor, until Deul-ho tells him he has it in his possession. He asks if Assemblyman Kim is willing to catch Chairman Jung with him, but he tells Deul-ho that it’s not enough. Without specific details about the transactions, the ledger becomes a useless piece of paper.
Assemblyman Kim asks Deul-ho if he really does have it, and Deul-ho informs him that he came to Assemblyman Kim specifically because his name wasn’t in the ledger. Deul-ho asks the assemblyman a caustic question—is he disappointed to not be on the list? Assemblyman Kim gives an inexplicable smirk as an answer.
As Deul-ho leaves, he hears a woman protesting, and witnesses her being pushed by passersby and reprimanded by patrol officers. They order her to leave the premises, but Deul-ho interrupts, stating that she has the right to protest.
The officers ignore Deul-ho for the most part, and tell the woman to protest elsewhere. Once the officers leave, Deul-ho helps pick up flyers and gives the woman some encouragement. He also leaves behind his business card, telling her to contact him if anyone bothers her again.
Eun-jo is at the bank to repay her loans when all of a sudden, a lady drops a canned drink and falls to the ground convulsing. Eun-jo takes charge of the situation until the paramedics arrive, and she shares the news with the others at the office.
Deul-ho walks in and hears the news, but soon after, the protesting woman from earlier enters. She tells him that they have to stop a drink called “Power King” from being sold, but Deul-ho informs her that they can’t help with a consumer boycott. With her eyes brimming with tears, she tells Deul-ho that her daughter died after drinking Power King, and she will sue if that means she can stop it from being sold.
Deul-ho offers to introduce her to another law firm that specializes in this area, but the woman is adamant that he take the case. Eun-jo interjects to say that they’ll help, causing Deul-ho pulls Eun-jo out into the hall. He asks her how they’ll manage a complicated case with just the two of them, but Eun-jo replies that he was going to accept anyways, since the manufacturer of Power King is Youngwon Food, a subsidiary company of Dae Hwa Group.
The two lawyers sit down with their new client, and she explains that her daughter was hardworking and smart. We see in a flashback that the daughter stayed up to study and drank can after can of Power King. Her mother tells them that the doctor ruled the cause of death as overconsumption of caffeine which caused seizures and vomiting, which is why she blames Power King.
She found the lack of news concerning the drink strange and began to protest by herself. However, she was sued for defamation and business interference. Deul-ho asks if she ever sought out legal advice, and she tells them that she went to Geum San, but was turned away. All the other firms she went to told her that winning was infeasible, but she cries that she can’t give up. Deul-ho says that they’ll help, and she thanks him profusely.
Not wasting any time, Deul-ho orders Eun-jo to find documents related to Power King while he goes to the convenience store. He returns with two bulging bags of Power King and tells the group to drink. He thinks that there might be more complaints if they do some digging, so Eun-jo decides to check blogs, Ae-ra offers to look into any charges made against Power King, and Deul-ho orders Dae-soo to investigate consumers.
Everyone diligently does their parts as Dae-soo asks random people on the street about Power King, and Ae-ra goes to the police station to illegally acquire some documents. Eun-jo stays up searching online, and Deul-ho goes through stacks of articles. He notices the author’s name on a research paper pertaining to Power King, and flips through the ledger to find the professor on the list.
Deul-ho visits the professor and asks him if he wrote a paper on Power King. The professor tries to ignore Deul-ho, but he doggedly follows and asks how a drink with three times the amount of caffeine as other power drinks can be considered a dietary supplement. He accuses Power King of killing a young girl, but the professor barks that there’s no evidence. Deul-ho asks the professor if he received money from Chairman Jung, and threatens to reveal everything.
The two stand outside to talk, and Deul-ho asks the professor why he didn’t publish anything about the dangers of Power King. The professor asks what he wants, and Deul-ho tells him to testify in court. He refuses, but Deul-ho states that this isn’t a request. He warns that if the professor doesn’t appear as a witness, then he’ll be in court as one of the accused. Deul-ho offers two options: clear his guilt by testifying or be questioned by prosecutors and sent to jail. The decision is up to him.
Ae-ra and Dae-soo march into a fitness center and pester people about Power King. Despite coming across as nutcases, their persistence results in some informative testimonies. At the office, Eun-jo continues her search online and finds a blogger who claims Power King helped her lose weight.
At Geum San, Attorney Kim notifies Attorney Jang that Deul-ho filed a lawsuit against Youngwon Food. Attorney Jang asks if this will pose a problem, and Attorney Kim admits that quite a few complaints already exist against Power King. Hae-kyung suggests that she take the case, and when she promises to handle it objectively, Attorney Jang yields. However, he still remains wary of his daughter, and orders Attorney Kim to report her actions back to him.
Deul-ho pops up at the professor’s office, and asks if he will testify. The professor says he won’t, and Deul-ho gives him a mocking good-bye and wonders aloud where the president’s office is. Infuriated at Deul-ho’s antics, the professor asks why he’s acting this way. Deul-ho shouts the question back at the professor and reminds him that the trial is tomorrow.
The opposing teams cross paths at the courthouse, and Eun-jo and Attorney Kim let the exes have a moment of privacy. Deul-ho asks if she’s in charge of this case, and Hae-kyung clarifies that she volunteered for it. He warns her that this case will be difficult, and she challenges him to go all the way.
In court, Deul-ho states the cause of death of the plaintiff’s daughter as overconsumption of caffeine, and explains that Power King has 300mg of caffeine, whereas other brands have 50-70mg. The doctor who cared for the daughter before she died takes the stand, and reaffirms the cause of death. Deul-ho asks him what the recommended allowance of caffeine is, and the doctor replies that it’s 400mg. Deul-ho explicates that just two cans of Power King exceed the daily recommendation.
When it’s Hae-kyung’s turn to cross-examine, she asks if the caffeine in Power King is different from caffeine found in coffee. The doctor says that they are the same, so Hae-kyung probes if it’s possible that the daughter could have died from overconsumption of caffeine from drinking coffee. The doctor is forced to say yes, and Hae-kyung goes on to explain that drinking two mocha lattes is equivalent to drinking one Power King. Does that mean drinking mocha lattes can kill you? The doctor concedes that it’s possible.
The daughter’s friend is the next witness, and she explains that she drank a lot of Power King during exam week like many other students. Hae-kyung asks the witness if anyone else died from caffeine addiction, and the girl shakes her head.
In a short interlude, we see the professor stare out a window as he hears Deul-ho’s words in his head. He appears hesitant, but doesn’t move from his spot. Back in the courtroom, Eun-jo questions a blogger about her post on Power King, and asks if she consumed the energy drink. The blogger says that she didn’t drink it and admits that she was paid by Power King to promote the drink.
Attorney Kim gets up to cross-examine, and asks the blogger if she still writes for Power King. The blogger says that she was fired, and in all honesty, is angry at the company. Attorney Kim gives a victorious smirk, but Deul-ho is too preoccupied with his phone to notice.
The judge is about to end the examination of witnesses when Deul-ho interjects that a new witness has just arrived. Everyone turns towards the door, and the professor walks in.
Deul-ho asks why the professor is here, and he says that he came to admit his guilt. He published a paper about Power King and lied that it was healthy despite knowing the chemicals inside. In addition, he withheld the findings concerning the negative effects of over-consuming Power King. He states that he felt guilty ever since reading an article about a young girl dying from the drink, and apologizes.
Hae-kyung asks for permission to verify the witness’s testimony at the next trial, and Deul-ho accepts her request. When the judge then asks for witness requests for the next trial, Deul-ho asks for Chairman Jung. Attorney Kim gets up to object, but Hae-kyung tells the judge that they accept his request.
Outside, cameras flash and one of the reporters asks if Chairman Jung will show up at the next trial. Deul-ho stares into a camera and tells Chairman Jung that he better show up and not run away or pretend to be sick this time.
Deul-ho’s speech against Power King and Chairman Jung ends up on the news, which Ji-wook watches from his laptop. Chief Prosecutor Shin’s words keep bothering Ji-wook, and after some internal turmoil, he leaves his office.
Attorney Kim calls out Hae-kyung for accepting Deul-ho’s request too cooperatively, and demands an explanation. She tells him that Deul-ho would have created a witch hunt if they didn’t comply, but he asks if she has an ulterior motive. Hae-kyung fails to give him a definite reply, and that’s all the answer he needs.
Ji-wook visits Chief Prosecutor Shin and informs him that Deul-ho filed a prosecution case against Chairman Jung. Chief Prosecutor Shin is furious, but Ji-wook tells the chief prosecutor to leave the investigation to him. He asks his father to just trust him, but the chief prosecutor appears conflicted.
In the car, Eun-jo asks Deul-ho if Chairman Jung will come to court. Deul-ho says that they’ll have to make him come no matter what, making Eun-jo wonder if he’s lived his whole life always doing as he pleases—he certainly acts like it.
Speaking of someone who does as he pleases, Chairman Jung exits his car amidst a swarm of reporters. He yells at his employees to manage the perimeter, and in his office, Chairman Jung vents his frustrations at Attorney Jang. He makes a snide comment that he’s been disappointed with Geum San lately, causing Attorney Jang to apologize.
Chairman Jung orders him to win this trial no matter what, and Attorney Jang promises to win using whatever means available. Chairman Jung still wants to get rid of Deul-ho permanently, but Attorney Jang advises him against the idea.
Chairman Jung yells for the whereabouts of Chief Prosecutor Shin, but his secretary tells him that he can’t be reached because of a meeting. In actuality, Chief Prosecutor Shin is by himself in his office, contemplating his next course of action.
Eun-jo checks her online post about Power King, and sees that it’s filled with comments. She calls Deul-ho to tell him the happy news, but he’s much less enthusiastic, and simply reminds her to stay composed. The phone rings again, and Deul-ho complains about her calling so much but goes silent when he sees who’s calling: not Eun-jo, but Chief Prosecutor Shin.
Deul-ho arrives at a bar, where Chief Prosecutor Shin tells Deul-ho that he wanted an honest talk with him. He asks what Deul-ho has up his sleeve, and Deul-ho discloses that he has the ledger. He asks Chief Prosecutor Shin for his help, since lawyers defend and prosecutors investigate. Deul-ho proposes that if Chief Prosecutor Shin wants to become the next prosecutor general, then he should interrogate Chairman Jung.
A group of protesters throw Power King cans in front of Youngwon Food and demand an apology, and in the crowd of protesters is protesting mother, no longer alone in her fight. News has also spread to consumers, who aren’t buying Power King in stores anymore.
Chairman Jung chucks his phone in frustration because everyone is avoiding him, and he only manages to reach one assemblyman. The assemblyman agrees to meet Chairman Jung, but Deul-ho is watching and follows him to the bathroom. He confronts the assemblyman about his previous bribery scandal, introducing himself as Superman. He also happens to be the one who saw Chairman Jung’s ledger. He tells the assemblyman to cancel his meeting with Chairman Jung, and the assemblyman huffs in disbelief.
Ji-wook pleads with Chief Prosecutor Shin to allow him to handle the case against Chairman Jung, and vows to turn this situation into an opportunity. His father warns Ji-wook that things could get out of control, but Ji-wook believes that his father must sever his ties with the chairman as soon as possible.
Chairman Jung hears from his secretary that the assemblyman canceled their dinner plans, and to make his day worse, Deul-ho waltzes into his company lobby to greet him. Deul-ho takes out a can of Power King, and tells the chairman to come to court and explain how something like this made him such a huge profit.
He warns Deul-ho to stop playing around, but Deul-ho says that he has to joke in order to make the world a brighter place. As he makes his exit, Deul-ho adds that the chairman will be even lonelier in the future, and brags that he was the one who made the assemblyman cancel their dinner plans.
Chairman Jung screams in the background as Deul-ho walks away with a victorious smirk.
What a satisfying final moment. It’s refreshing to see Chairman Jung’s fortress crack, but it’s really Deul-ho’s cavalier attitude as he makes hard-hitting declarations that makes it entertaining to watch. In some ways, Deul-ho is your typical hero: he fights for the weak, doesn’t seek wealth, and sacrifices his time for cases no one else will take. However, I would also argue that he’s atypical in that he’s kind of self-serving, arrogant, and mischievous. But that’s what makes him endearing. He has a glint in his eye and a trick up his sleeve, and he isn’t afraid to break the rules. If he wasn’t a lawyer, he’d make a great swindler, and it’s this dichotomy that makes the character engaging. I love the way he prances up to his opponents and leaves them speechless, and now that Deul-ho has made his first attack, I’m looking forward to how this battle will proceed.
Aside from how distracting the Power King product design was, I actually enjoyed this new arc. The episode was relatively well paced and there was a good balance of humor and drama. I also liked how the show highlighted Chief Prosecutor Shin’s struggle because it’s not your typical moral conflict. I mentioned this before, but I feel that he’s a character motivated by survival, and to me, he’s weighing which side will help him continue his career. If it were a moral question, the answer is easy because Chairman Jung makes no qualms about being “evil.” However, Shin is calculating which team has a better chance at winning, and it’s fascinating to see an antagonistic character waffle between good and bad for an egocentric reason. It brings up questions of morality and how we often define characters as these binary categories when watching shows.
The back and forth in the courtroom scene this episode was dynamic, and I enjoyed seeing the tag team on both sides. However, I feel that the show sacrifices its villains for the sake of emphasizing the protagonists. Whenever I watch Deul-ho go up against Geum San, I never get the feeling of David v. Goliath (i.e., the little guy against the big bully). In reality, Deul-ho’s neighborhood firm is staffed by two people with the additional employment of a friendly loan shark and his two henchmen, whereas Geum San is supposedly the best law firm in South Korea. I don’t expect the drama to make Deul-ho lose cases here and there for the sake of realism, but I wish the drama would up the ante and raise the tension in the courtroom. I want to be nervous when Deul-ho faces an allegedly fearsome opponent, and subsequently elated when he beats the odds.
Nevertheless, the show consistently delivers on the comedy front, which I greatly appreciate. It’s funny how Dae-soo is always the butt of the joke, and then they literally made jokes about his butt this episode. Moreover, I love Ae-ra’s and Dae-soo’s bickering. The natural delivery of all their exchanges is gold. By the way, has their screen time increased, or is it just me? It’s probably just me because I don’t have my priorities straight. But I would seriously watch a spin-off drama with them. It could be called Neighborhood Loan Shark Bae Dae-soo, only Ae-ra would be the protagonist because she’s too fiery to let Dae-soo be the lead.
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 13
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 12
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 11
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 10
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 9
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 8
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 7
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 6
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 5
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 4
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 3
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 2
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 1