Reach of Sincerity: Episode 3
Our actress’ assignment as a legal secretary isn’t quite as interesting as she imagined, which leaves her itching to see some action in the courtroom. The first trials she experiences touches on her current status in the entertainment industry and Yoon-seo must confront some of her own fears and the pain that she’s endured. While Jung-rok trains Yoon-seo to be a real legal secretary, he has his hands full trying to curb her passionate personality. Yet, as he watches her, Jung-rok learns that emotions have a place, even in a law firm.
EPISODE 3: “Yoon-seo’s first case”
After Jung-rok stops Yoon-seo from falling, she announces that she’s looking forward to working together and walks away, only to learn that she’s going the wrong way. Once she’s home, Yoon-seo sighs happily at the thought that she and Jung-rok are now friends.
A news report about the woman who murdered her husband airs on Jung-rok’s television, with details that the husband was stabbed and the wife hospitalized for weeks. Jung-rok turns it off just before Se-won gets home.
Se-won catches a whiff of alcohol and guesses that Jung-rok attended a team dinner, intrigued when he hears it was dinner with his secretary. When Se-won asks if she’s pretty, Jung-rok admits that she’s okay, for a secretary.
As Yoon-seo dresses for work the next morning, Hyuk-joon calls to report that he can’t drive for a few more days thanks to a training injury, but someone else will fill in for him. When Yoon-seo bounces into the law office, Attorney Choi giggles that the sight of him must have put her in a good mood.
Yoon-seo’s good cheer is short-lived when Jung-rok’s strictly-business demeanor clashes with her attempt at friendly banter. Jung-rok hands Yoon-seo a long list of tasks and her predecessor’s journal, filled with important details.
Yeon-so is soon hard at work and when she finally sits down, Jung-rok hands her a huge stack of cases that need copies. After he leaves, Yoon-seo complains that she feels like a slave and regrets their dinner the night before.
An exhausted Yoon-seo collapses at home and reaches for her script of Love Hurts. She flips to her favorite scene and imagines herself confronting a witness in court as applause erupts in the gallery. Yoon-seo grumbles that she needs to see lawyers in action, not more task lists.
The next day, Jung-rok invites Yoon-seo to join him for a lunch meeting with a competing attorney. When Yoon-seo suggests a beauty mark as a disguise, Jung-rok assures her that he has something prepared.
Jung-rok’s disguise for Yoon-seo turns out to be an ahjumma-worthy track suit and mask that he explains is necessary because she’s about to meet one of her most passionate fans. Jung-rok then mentions that Yoon-seo can’t speak during lunch so that the attorney doesn’t recognize her voice.
At the restaurant, Jung-rok introduces Yoon-seo as his new secretary and explains that a mishap with her clothes forced her to change into the company tracksuit. Yoon-seo scowls when Jung-rok adds that her mask covers a skin condition.
During lunch, Yoon-seo can only look at the food because of her mask. When the attorney apologizes for eating in front of her, Jung-rok convinces him that Yoon-seo is on a diet after gaining 3 kg. Yoon-seo makes her annoyance felt when she pokes Jung-rok under the table with some chopsticks.
After another bathroom rant, Yoon-seo runs into the opposing attorney who asks her to join his firm and offers her his card. When Yoon-seo accepts it, he tells her that her fingers look strangely familiar and scrutinizes her closely.
Just when the attorney pressures Yoon-seo to remove her mask, Jung-rok comes to her rescue and demands, “Don’t act rudely anymore to my secretary.” After returning the attorney’s business card, Jung-rok grabs Yoon-seo’s wrist and leaves.
In the car, Jung-rok leans away when Yoon-seo heatedly informs him that she has great skin and carefully maintains her weight. Yoon-seo rejects Jung-rok’s conciliatory offer to buy her something to eat, but her growling stomach says otherwise.
Attorney Yeon meets with his cousin to report that Yoon-seo is doing well at his law firm. When CEO Yeon brings up Jung-rok and calls him obnoxious, Attorney Yeon doesn’t disagree but argues that he is the firm’s star. CEO Yeon answers that’s why his cousin can’t control Jung-rok and lectures, “The moment it seems he’s invading your dignity or class, you have to fire him, regardless of whether he’s a star or not.”
Attorney Yeon decides he needs to restructure his firm just when CEO Yeon gets a call from Min-ji, who wants to quit her drama. CEO Yeon barks, “Are you kidding me,” but is forced to grovel when Min-ji threatens to cancel her proposed contract extension.
Attorney Yeon listens with interest as CEO Yeon explains to Min-ji that he didn’t yell, something was caught in his throat. After CEO Yeon hangs up, Attorney Yeon drily observes, “If something like this happens again, you might be begging on your knees.” When Attorney Yeon leaves, CEO Yeon sends boxes of macarons for his employees.
Jung-rok surveys all of the food that Yoon-seo ordered, which she describes as the penalty for his rudeness. When Yoon-seo calls, “Action,” and digs in, Jung-rok can’t help but smile at how much she enjoys the food.
As she eats, Yoon-seo learns why Jung-rok needed her at his meeting in such an unsightly disguise. The opposing attorney manages to extract important information from other attorneys when he meets them one-on-one, but not when he’s distracted by another participant. Jung-rok apologizes for not telling Yoon-seo in advance, but he was worried that she would act awkwardly if she knew.
When Yoon-seo takes offense, Jung-rok blurts, “That’s what everyone says. You’re awkward when you act.” At Yoon-seo’s threat to sue him for defamation, Jung-rok wonders, “…does that mean you’re also going to sue everyone in the country?”
When Attorney Yeon returns to the office with the macarons, Attorney Dan uncharacteristically turns them down. After Hae-young explains that she was rejected by her latest crush, Attorney Yeon expresses confidence that Attorney Dan will soon find someone else.
Attorney Dan insists that she’ll never fall in love again, but that changes when a courier (cameo by Chansung) walks in. Instantly enamored, Attorney Dan chases after the courier with some macarons as everyone watches.
Attorney Yeon jumps up in alarm when Jung-rok returns alone and mentions that Yoon-seo is at the district attorney’s office, worried that she’s been arrested. Jung-rok assures him that she’s there to work and Attorney Yeon gushes that Yoon-seo could become an attorney in a year.
On the way back from lunch, Yeo-reum’s department sees some women protesting that the woman who killed her husband acted in self-defense, prompting one of the prosecutors to ask their boss for the case.
When Yoon-seo calls Jung-rok to report that she’s completed her work at the courthouse, he sends her home early. After she sighs that it would be nice to see a trial since she’s at the courthouse, Attorney Choi appears out of nowhere and invites Yoon-seo to sit in on his pro bono case.
In the courtroom, Yoon-seo takes interest in one trial in particular — a high-school girl who accepted money from friends for autographs from a famous idol. The girl, Kim Yoon-ha, admits to the charges and the judge explains that she needs to settle with the victims to get a lenient sentence.
That won’t be so easy because the victims filed a document stating that they won’t settle because they want to see Yoon-ha punished. When she argues that she paid them, just not in full, Attorney Choi calls the trial a mess.
Attorney Choi’s trial turns out to be even messier when his client interrupts him repeatedly. As they leave the courtroom, Attorney Choi explains to Yoon-seo that even though he lost his case, he didn’t really lose because justice was served when his client was punished for her crime.
After Attorney Choi walks away, Yoon-seo tells herself, “I guess not all attorneys are competent and charismatic like the great Mr. Kwon,” immediately stunned by her own words.
When Hyuk-joon’s replacement calls to ask Yoon-seo if there’s anything she needs, a book in the hands of a passing prosecutor prompts her to request law books from the nearest bookstore. That night, Yoon-seo replies to an email from Jung-rok with a selfie of her reading a law book.
Attorney Choi hands Jung-rok a pro bono case of his own — the high school girl who accepted money for autographs from a famous idol. Jung-rok enlists Yoon-seo to join Ms. Yang in soliciting petitions from the girl’s classmates, but she’s convinced of the girl’s guilt after seeing her in court. Jung-rok explains that it’s his job to represent her and the judge’s to decide whether or not she’s guilty.
Ms. Yang gets a text from her daughter that she’s home from school early because she’s sick, and informs Yoon-seo that she can’t accompany her after all. Mr. Lee has experience collecting petitions, thanks to his detective days, and offers to take Ms. Yang’s place.
Yeo-reum’s boss offers her the Im Yoon-hee case (the wife who murdered her abusive husband) because his superiors want it handled by a female prosecutor. Word spreads fast and soon Yeo-reum’s colleague, Prosecutor Im, causes a scene in the cafeteria when he accuses her of stealing his case. Before a friend can pull him away, Prosecutor Im quietly warns, “I’ll be watching you,” and when Yeo-reum looks up, she sees that Se-won witnessed the entire exchange.
Yeo-reum’s secretary has digestive medicine ready for her, thanks to Se-won, which Yeo-reum immediately returns. When Yeo-reum warns Se-won not to bother her with useless generosity, he insists that he only helped a colleague, nothing more. That may not be entirely true since Se-won turns around to watch Yeo-reum walk away.
At the high school, Mr. Lee and Yoon-seo end up empty-handed when Yoon-ha’s classmates complain about her many lies, including that she was a K-pop trainee.
Yoon-seo returns to the office during Yoon-ha’s initial meeting with Jung-rok. When the girl claims that she has no parents, Jung-rok produces family documents that list a mother and a father.
Incensed, Yoon-seo barges in and orders the girl, “Stop lying to him.” Yoon-ha recognizes Yoon-seo, and demands, “Stay out of it, you washed-up actress.” Yoon-seo can’t believe it when Jung-rok confronts her, “What are you doing? I mean you, Ms. Oh Jin-shim.”
On the roof, Jung-rok explains that Yoon-seo exceeded her authority when she interfered in his meeting. When Yoon-seo protests that she was only trying to help, Jung-rok tells her, “Stop being emotional. That kind of attitude won’t help at all.”
After dinner, Ms. Yang gives her daughter some medicine but catches her dumping it out of her bedroom window.
Later, when Yoon-seo hands Jung-rok some copies, he questions why she made extra ones and she snaps, “Is this an abuse of authority too? I’ll be more careful.” When a confused Jung-rok asks, “What are you doing,” Yoon-seo hotly retorts, “I’m sorry for having a grudge and being so emotional.” Yoon-seo then leaves for the day with a curt farewell and a slammed door.
At home, Yoon-seo is too upset to read her law book and tosses it aside, while Jung-rok can’t seem to get any work done at the office.
The next day, when Yoon-seo confides in her coworkers about her disagreement with Jung-rok, Ms. Yang sides with him, “Interfering with the conversation of an attorney and a client is not the concern of a secretary.”
The discussion shifts to Yoon-ha’s motive for fraud and Attorney Dan guesses that it’s money, since a public defender means that her parents have none. Yoon-seo expects they’ll know soon enough, when the girl brings her parents.
Instead, Yoon-ha arrives alone and she gives Jung-rok excuses instead of her parents’ contact information. As she leaves, Jung-rok warns, “If you act like that in court, you…may be sentenced to prison.”
Yoon-ha insists that she’s not scared so Jung-rok explains that her looming trial could mean the loss of freedom and life as an ex-convict. Jung-rok makes a final appeal, “The only person who can help you…will be me…you should trust me more.”
Later, when Yoon-seo overhears Ms. Yang tell someone on the phone that her daughter pretended to be sick to get her attention, she gets an idea.
Yoon-seo meets with CEO Yeon and learns that Yoon-ha was a trainee with his agency for five years. He mentions that Yoon-ha and the idol, Ji Yong, auditioned at the same time and were close.
Unfortunately, Yoon-ha had to work a part-time job to help her family and because she missed so many practices, she never improved. After five years, CEO Yeon had no choice but to terminate their association.
As she leaves the agency, Yoon-seo sees Hyuk-joon with Min-ji and overhears her offer him a position. When Min-ji gossips that Yoon-seo’s career is over, Yoon-seo confronts her and is told to her face, “…the whole nation knows you’re on the edge of a cliff. What if Hyuk-joon stays with you and goes down…too?”
When Min-ji leaves with a patronizing pat, Yoon-seo yanks her back. After Min-ji pushes her, Yoon-seo gets in a few shoves of her own and soon the women are pulling each other’s hair. Alarmed, Hyuk-joon tries to protect Yoon-seo and Min-ji from the inevitable phones of bystanders.
Later, Yoon-seo is silent while Hyuk-joon finds a quiet place to park near the ocean. Once she’s alone, after Hyuk-joon runs for some coffee, Yoon-seo starts to cry.
It’s dark by the time they return to the city and Hyuk-joon urges Yoon-seo to tell the law firm that she’s sick. Yoon-seo vows to not only complete her three month assignment, but to successfully return as an actress.
Yoon-seo then warns Hyuk-joon, “Don’t lie to me from now on. I’ll forgive you once, but there will be no second chance.” When Hyuk-joon promises, “I’ll do a better job,” Yoon-seo finally smiles.
On her way back to the law offices, Yoon-seo runs into Jung-rok, who just learned that Yoon-ha was arrested. Yoon-seo accompanies Jung-rok to the police station and learns that Yoon-ha called him because she doesn’t know the whereabouts of her parents, who both abandoned her. When Yoon-seo stays in the car so that she won’t be recognized, she informs Jung-rok that Yoon-ha was truthful about her days as a trainee where she befriended the idol, Ji Yong.
Inside the station, Jung-rok finds a mother demanding to have Yoon-ha locked up for causing a commotion at her house, but the girl explains that she went there to apologize. When the mother calls Yoon-ha an ill-bred brat, Jung-rok informs her that she could be charged with contempt, and more, if it turns out that her story isn’t true.
Jung-rok convinces the police officer that the mother’s claim is false and escorts Yoon-ha away. When Yoon-seo sees Jung-rok with Yoon-ha, she runs up to the girl to ask, “Are you all right?”
They stop for a meal and when Jung-rok has to step away for a call, Yoon-seo tells the girl that she knows she just wants to be loved. Yoon-seo removes her sunglasses and confesses that she’s the washed-up actress and then admits, “I want to go back to where I shined brighter than anyone. Should I be embarrassed of how I feel?”
Yoon-seo has an idea of what Yoon-ha went through when her dream came to an end and she urges Yoon-ha to stop hurting herself. Yoon-ha confesses that she was afraid that if people knew the truth, no one would ever love her, so she started lying but everything spun out of control.
Yoon-seo tells Yoon-ha, “…it’s still not too late…So don’t you ever give up on yourself.” When Jung-rok returns, he finds Yoon-seo consoling Yoon-ha as she sobs with regret.
During Yoon-ha’s trial, Jung-rok surprises everyone, especially Yoon-seo, when he announces, “The defendant pleads not guilty.” When the judge reminds Jung-rok that his client already admitted her guilt, Jung-rok explains that Yoon-ha didn’t deceive anyone, therefore she can’t be guilty of fraud. He proves that Yoon-ha really does know the idol, Ji Yong, and that she sincerely believed she could get his autograph.
As they wait for the judge’s decision, Jung-rok apologizes to Yoon-seo for warning her not to get emotional, because it was those emotions that managed to get through to Yoon-ha. Yoon-seo looks up in surprise when Jung-rok praises her, “You did well, Ms. Oh Jin-shim.”
When Jung-rok turns away, Yoon-seo stops him and asks, “Can I hear the compliment once again?” Yoon-seo’s scarf is suddenly carried away by a gust of wind and Jung-rok drapes it around her neck as he repeats, “You did well, Ms. Oh Jin-shim.”
So far, Reach of Sincerity has been a fun romp, but a shift to more serious content is underway as we get to the legal underpinnings of the drama. The large case promises to be the Im Yoon-hee murder/self defense trial and I imagine we’ll see Jung-rok pitted against Yeo-reum. However, the first trial that Yoon-seo gets close to involves a failed trainee who was once part of CEO Yeon’s agency. Guilty of making some false assumptions about the girl, Yoon-seo proves to be key in gathering helpful evidence, plus she gets the girl to drop her defenses and accept Jung-rok’s help. Her efforts earn Jung-rok’s respect and it’s obvious that he’s starting to look at her differently.
Jung-rok’s perception of Yoon-seo isn’t the only shift that occurrs, because Yoon-seo’s meeting with CEO Yeon leads to her encounter with her nemesis, Min-ji, and her still-manager, Hyuk-joon, who hasn’t been truthful about the nature of his absences. Yoon-seo gets hit with the double barrel of obsolescence and betrayal and the second she’s alone, she breaks down as all the pain and fear of the last two years flickers across her face. Suddenly, Yoon-seo knows all too well how difficult it’s been for the failed trainee to face life without her dream, because it’s Yoon-seo’s greatest fear. As hard as she’s tried to stay positive, Min-ji’s taunts were like a punch to the gut and Yoon-seo ends up with the wind knocked out of her. When Yoon-seo broke down, I was impressed by Yoo Inna’s ability to communicate her pain and fear without saying a word.
Jung-rok and Yoon-seo share interesting parallels, this time about erroneous snap judgements. Jung-rok dismisses Yoon-seo’s emotional reactions as having no place in the practice of the law, but he eventually learns that he was mistaken. What Yoon-seo needed to understand was how to channel her emotions effectively, which she managed to do. For her part, Yoon-seo spurns the trainee because she’s a liar and almost misses the opportunity to use her connections in the entertainment industry to help the girl. She needs to think more like Jung-rok and focus on the facts. Their mistakes first push them apart and then bring them closer when both Yoon-seo and Jung-rok accept how wrong they were.
Aside from our lead couple, my favorite couple has to be the CEO cousins, Attorney Yeon and CEO Yeon. Ha! Those two are hilarious together and thanks to the fact that they control Jung-rok’s law firm and Yoon-seo’s agency, we’re sure to see lots more of them. I can’t wait. Between the cousin get-together and his elevator conversations with Jung-rok, Attorney Yeon has already given me plenty of chuckles and I’m looking forward to more of Oh Jung-se’s scene stealing moments.
I’m not yet sure how the second couple in the mix, Yeo-reum and Se-won, figure in the scheme of things. Yeo-reum is rather cold, kind of the way Yoon-seo initially saw Jung-rok, and she’s certainly career driven. Se-won is more like Yoon-seo, charming and quick to smile. I find it hard to believe that Yeo-reum ever had feelings for someone like Se-won, but since they’ve know each other so long, I can only imagine that Yeo-reum has changed a lot since her student days. Maybe that’s what keeps Se-won interested, he remembers when she was a much different kind of woman.
I’ve got to give some love to Lee Dong-wook, whose character is obviously overshadowed by the larger-than-life personality of Yoon-seo. Lee Dong-wook’s Jung-rok catches me off guard with his reactions to the fiery, passionate, emotional Yoon-seo. When Yoon-seo unleashes one of her tirades in Jung-rok’s direction, he takes a few seconds to figure out what she’s talking about, because he needs time to change gears. Lee Dong-wook’s timing is perfect, because whenever he pauses like that, I’m flooded with memories of people that I’ve known who’ve reacted that very same way. It’s such a subtle detail, with powerful results, which reminds me what it is that makes K-dramas so special for me, they allow time for moments just like that.
- Premiere Watch: Reach of Sincerity, Legal High, Trap
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- Lee Dong-wook and Yoo Inna take the bickering to court in tvN’s Reach of Sincerity
- Reach of Sincerity to pull off last-minute casting switcheroo
- Wishing for a lucky start for Reach of Sincerity
- Yoo Inna and Lee Dong-wook get cozy in first teaser for Reach of Sincerity
- Yoo Inna and Lee Dong-wook to reunite for Reach of Sincerity