Extraordinary Attorney Woo: Episodes 11-12
It’s the beginning of an office romance for our whale couple and for some other characters, it’s the start of an unholy alliance. This week also comes with a dilemma for our heroine, because what choice is an attorney to make between “protecting” people or sticking with the dictates of her job?
EPISODES 11-12 WEECAP
This week, we get a case of three friends who pool money to buy lottery tickets on the condition that if one of them wins, they will split the winnings evenly. By a stroke of luck, one of them comes first place in the lottery, but he refuses to abide by their gentleman’s agreement to split the winnings. This is where our Hanbada lawyers come in, as the other two sue the winner for their share.
It’s a tricky case because the money they used to buy the tickets was gotten from gambling which is illegal. But it’s hard to turn them down when the lead plaintiff says he’s desperately in need of the money so he can pay back his lovely wife for being their family’s support system over the years. They seem like a very loving couple who need the money to better the life of their family, and Hanbada takes the case.
In the absence of evidence to prove there was an agreement to split the winnings, they need a witness who overheard the conversation. Unfortunately, the witness is reluctant to testify in court, and in their desperation, the plaintiffs attempt to buy his testimony. Of course, Young-woo puts her foot down at all their illegal scheming, but the plaintiffs are not deterred and eventually get another witness.
The new witness is the coffee girl at the gambling house and the opposing lawyer claims that her testimony is due to her affair with the lead plaintiff. They deny the affair, but Young-woo sees a finger heart exchange between them. After winning the case, the lead plaintiff comes to thank Young-woo and asks if lottery winnings are shared with a spouse in the event of a divorce. Young-woo says no, but with the heart exchange in court, she can’t help but be suspicious that he is indeed having an affair and plans to divorce his wife, leaving her with nothing.
Young-woo gets conflicted between sticking to attorney-client privilege, or warning the wife about her husband’s plan. Myeong-seok warns her not to interfere, but thanks to Su-yeon’s advice, Young-woo visits the wife’s shop, and in hypothetical terms, alerts her of her husband’s plan. Hanbada can’t take her case because they already represented her husband in a related case, and Myeong-seok refers her to another lawyer. Jun-ho and Young-woo go to drop her off, and the husband sees them together. He gets into his car and menacingly drives towards them, but a truck of doom appears and crushes his car in the middle of the road. With his death, the wife inherits his share of the lottery win and his life insurance. And though it feels a bit makjang, I guess all is well that ends well.
Young-woo gets a sensory overload on witnessing the accident, and thankfully, Jun-ho is there to hug her in support. Later on, Young-woo thanks Jun-ho for hugging her and tries to explain the rationale behind it, but she doesn’t have to, because he already knows that for autistic people, anxiety can be relieved by putting pressure on the body during a sensory overload. It’s so amazing how Jun-ho is always one step ahead in learning about Young-woo’s needs, and I love that as he does that, he also teaches Young-woo how to put his own needs on par with hers.
Theirs is one of the most adorable office romances ever, and it’s really cute how Young-woo is totally into Jun-ho, and how well he responds to her Young-woo-like show of affection. That holding of hands through her office glass is one of the smoothest and most heart-fluttering moves I have ever seen, and Young-woo saying that Jun-ho keeps popping in her mind when he’s not even a whale is just squee!!!
It’s unfortunate that Su-yeon’s love life isn’t going so well, but our spring sunshine deserves better than that gigolo guy she met at the club. I’m hopeful that she’ll meet a decent guy soon enough because she’s a great person. Unlike Min-woo, who sinks to a new low each week, having joined forces with CEO Tae to plot Young-woo’s exit from Hanbada in exchange for a position at Taesan. It doesn’t help that Young-woo’s dad is also beginning to consider CEO Tae’s offer to move abroad with Young-woo. Sigh. But now that he has seen Young-woo locking lips with Jun-ho, maybe he’ll reconsider his plans.
Our next case involves a company undergoing an M&A, and the restructuring results in downsizing the staff. According to their downsizing policy, married couples in the company are eligible for voluntary resignation, and if one of them doesn’t resign, the husband will be subjected to unpaid leave. But it’s a covertly sexist policy because while the men appear to be the ones on the chopping block, the society is patriarchal and the wives are most likely to step down for their husbands.
When two female staffers sue the company for creating the policy with the intent to fire the female employees, Hanbada comes in to represent the company. They learn that the opposing lawyer is a famous women and human rights lawyer, although she doesn’t have a high winning rate. But she’s pretty much dedicated to her cause and unfazed by anyone including the judge (whom, as we’ve seen in the North Korean defector’s case, is very particular about family ancestry). As it turns out, he and the opposing lawyer are from the same ancestry, although according to the family tree, she’s like an aunt to him. Lol.
In Operation Get Young-woo Out Of Hanbada, Min-woo, under the guise of concern for the female employees, informs Young-woo that Hanbada helped the company to create the discriminatory downsizing policy. He also gives her some supporting documents in the hopes that she passes them on to the opposing lawyer, thereby breaching confidentiality. An already conflicted Young-woo asks Myeong-seok about the policy, and he replies that a lawyer’s job is not to decide between right and wrong, but to defend their client.
Min-woo gets a shocker when he learns about Young-woo and Jun-ho’s relationship, but it’s still not enough to stop his evil plans. Instead, he slips Young-woo’s business card into the policy documents and sends them to the opposing lawyer. He has really crossed all the lines at this point!
At the next hearing, the opposing lawyer submits evidence on the policy – but to Min-woo’s disappointment and my relief, it’s not the document Min-woo sent. In the end, the judge rules in favor of the company because, well, while some policies are just terrible, they are also legally valid. Tsk. It’s not a very happy win for Young-woo who has spent the case being conflicted about contributing to the legalization of firing of female employees thanks to an unjust policy. However, it’s also not a sad loss for the opposing lawyer and her clients, who are happy they went through the lawsuit regardless of its outcome.
The opposing lawyer invites Young-woo and Su-yeon to an after-trial party, where she returns the policy documents to a shocked Young-woo. And when Young-woo denies sending them, the opposing lawyer tells her to watch her back at work. Any other lawyer might have used that information regardless of whether the sender would get into trouble at work or not, and I think it was really professional that this lawyer didn’t. Young-woo was right to have described her as a Yangtze River dolphin – a species (now extinct) that adapted to living in the river rather than the sea. The opposing lawyer is a type of lawyer that can’t be found in Hanbada, and just like Young-woo, we hope she doesn’t go extinct.
Apart from dealing with backstabbing colleagues, Young-woo also has a relationship problem to deal with. After her dad spotted their kiss, he asked if she was dating Jun-ho. But apparently, Jun-ho is the only one in the relationship because Young-woo still thinks they’re in the talking stage. Heh. Jun-ho is hurt by her assumption, and as he vents to her, he releases all his frustration about all the dates they’ve been on. So far, the dates have been favorable to Young-woo but not to him, and the only reason he went along with it is because he thought they were dating!
Whether it be her private life or her professional life, there’s a lot of learning for Young-woo to do. She has to make some compromises in her relationship with Jun-ho. And as a lawyer, she needs to find a balance that works for her between trying to do the right thing, and being a professional. I’d say Myeong-seok will be a good sunbae to help her through in this regard, but he also has a lot on his plate – spending the entire case on edge thanks to the release of a client he once defended, who went on to attack his co-attorney on the case. Thank goodness the guy is back in custody. Phew!
With only two weeks left, it is my earnest desire that the drama doesn’t slow down its pace or divert to cliché-land, especially now that PPLs are beginning to make an appearance, and Myeong-seok is coughing up blood (never a good sign in dramaland). Please, let my assumptions be wrong, and let us end as strongly as we started.