May It Please the Court: Episodes 1-2 (First Impressions)
May It Please the Court introduces us to our heroine – an ace attorney — in what feels like a slow-paced yet quick start to the drama. After she uncharacteristically does a good deed, our heroine attempts to find her footing as her world is suddenly turned upside down.
Editor’s note: Coverage will continue with weekly hangouts.
EPISODES 1-2 FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Like with most dramas, this first week is all about setup. The show opens on a somber, rainy day as a slew of black cars head to a cemetery. Stepping out from the cars are a number of important-looking people, who all rush to greet the Jangsan Law Firm’s chairman before they pay respect to his late father. Standing up front with the chairman is his family: his son, his wife, and someone who is mistaken to be his granddaughter. It’s our protagonist NOH CHAK-HEE (Jung Ryeo-won).
She’s often mistaken as the daughter of the chaebol family for her tender and close relationship with the chairman, who actually treats her as his own granddaughter. That doesn’t win her brownie points with the rest of this snobbish group at all, and she’s usually treated with condescension.
The next day, at Jangsan Law Firm, employees are tense as they wait for the “Dark Lord” — yup, they’re talking about Chak-hee, known for her cutthroat personality and strict work ethic. Everyone is holding their breath once she arrives, but she immediately leaves after receiving a call.
Working up towards being a law partner, she’s currently working on a case for Kangsung Pharmaceuticals regarding their birth control pills, after a former employee accused the company of producing and distributing the drug while knowing of its side effects. Chak-hee’s on the hunt for evidence she can use in her argument for the case.
But cutting her work short is some office drama. As the board discusses her promotion to partner, Jangsan CEO JANG KI-DO (Jung Jin-young) calls her back to defend herself.
As established earlier on, the people around her don’t like her very much, and it seems Ki-do’s wife OH HA-RAN (Kim Hye-eun) has it out for her, questioning the validity of Chak-hee’s logged hours at work. Well, after they watch the CCTV footage of her office, where she logged 124 hours for just one case, they couldn’t say anything against her promotion. After the meeting, Ki-do tells her to do a good job so she can get what she wants. I don’t trust him. He has that sus vibe.
Elsewhere, we finally meet our other lead JWA SHI-BAEK (Lee Kyu-hyung), who gets accused of not having a job after he pilfers an ice cream from a small store while not paying for it. But as it turns out, he does have a job as a lawyer. He just doesn’t get paid much for it because he’s a public defender.
Entering a pharmacy, he purchases Kangsung’s birth control pills… and even swallows a couple himself?! The clerk looks at him weirdly, but Shi-baek does have a reason for doing that: he’s investigating the pill’s side effects because he’s the lawyer of the former employee suing the company.
Upon returning to his office, he finds himself in a meeting with Chak-hee, who comes to offer a settlement before the case gets to court. As they trade barbs, we learn how notorious they both are, but on opposite sides of the spectrum. As an ace with a 92% win rate, Chak-hee is about to be promoted as a partner — but she’s also known as Jangsan’s dog, ready to bite anyone at her master’s order. In contrast, despite being at the top of his law school class, Shi-baek only has a 3% win rate and is known as a wacko for his eccentric ways.
Shi-baek rejects her settlement offer, but he does help her fix a crick in her neck, LOL. A wacko indeed. Off to a good yet not-so-good start!
Well, Shi-baek should probably have taken the offer for his client, because at court, Chak-hee ends up winning with a hidden card. She exposes the affair between the plaintiff and Kangsung’s CEO, earning her his ire and a slap in the face. Ouch. Well, she does get Jangsan’s chairman fussing over her — and an offer of his shares. Oh my, she’s really his favorite.
Later, Ki-do asks Chak-hee if she’s interested in the chairman’s shares. She vehemently denies it, but he encourages her to dream big, even praising her for a good job on the Kangsung case. (Why is this guy setting off so many alarms in my head?!)
He tells her to continue doing a good job, because Kangsung’s problems aren’t over yet. The side effects of the birth control pills really do exist: hallucinations and delirium. A woman even stabbed her husband because of the pill’s side effects. Chak-hee is tasked with resolving the case — find a motive, get a settlement, or do whatever she can as long as it doesn’t get too connected to the pills. But Chak-hee is conflicted, because the woman in the case is her childhood friend, who has helped her during hard times. Oof.
Work is work, so Chak-hee visits her friend as her attorney, presenting her solution: to encourage her friend to kill herself for the sake of her husband and kids. OMG?!? And her friend really tries to end her life. OMG?!
But not to worry, our protagonist does have some sort of conscience. In a flashback, we see Chak-hee admitting the pill’s side effects and what Kangsung’s plans are to hide it. And when Chak-hee visits her friend after her suicide attempt, our protagonist gives her free legal advice on what she can do to hold Kangsung accountable for the pills.
Outside, Shi-baek is waiting to confront Chak-hee after learning about the suicide attempt. He accuses her of being heartless and inhumane, promising to stop her at all costs. Chak-hee simply brushes him off and walks away.
Much later, a “drunk” Chak-hee calls him out to eat — and to give him an incriminating piece of evidence that proves the pill’s side effects. Shi-baek asks her why she’s giving it to him, knowing the risks, but she says by the time Jangsan finds out what she did, she’ll already have everything she wants, including being made partner.
The next day, Jangsan Law Firm holds a company-wide gathering to welcome her as partner. But just as she basks in the glory of her success, the police barge in to arrest her for instigating her friend’s suicide. Yikes!
When Shi-baek arrives to ask for some missing pages from the file, Chak-hee accuses him of turning her in. But it’s not Shi-baek. According to the detective, Ki-do ordered her arrest. And that’s only the beginning.
When she gets to her office, she sees people removing her stuff, because she’s essentially been fired. She begs for another chance, so Ki-do puts her on a year-long suspension and orders her to work as a public defender in the meantime.
So Chak-hee goes from the city to a small town, from a spacious penthouse to a rooftop room, from driving a car to taking the bus, and from a prestigious law firm to a cramped dusty office — with none other than Shi-baek.
After an awkward first day at work, Chak-hee is stuck waiting for the rain to stop. While she does attempt to goad Shi-baek for a ride, their rocky start prompts him to refuse. So, when the Kangsung CEO arrives to offer her a ride, she accepts. Unfortunately, this sleazy pervert has his own motives, planning to take her to a hotel and essentially sexually harasses her. What an ass! But Chak-hee isn’t a pushover. She butts her head with the pervert to fight him off… just as another car bumps into them. It’s Shi-baek to the rescue!
Seething and furious, Shi-baek nearly punches the pervert, but Chak-hee is able to stop him. Shi-baek takes her home, offering her a blanket, an apology, and some kind words. Chak-hee seems to just brush it off, even telling Shi-baek to use this incident against Kangsung. But Shi-baek refuses, not wanting to “create another victim.”
Even if she put up a strong front, once she gets home, Chak-hee seems pretty shaken, cursing out the pervert. And in the early hours of the morning, she gets woken up from her sleep by a call from the pervert, who’s moaning and screaming in pain. The sleazy CEO has his hands tied in a complicated knot and is being tortured to death by a mysterious guy in black wearing a fancy watch. The next morning, we cut to a similar complicated knot used as a keychain as a man with the same watch walks to his car. It’s none other than Shi-baek. Oh damn?!
This first week has a lot of setup happening, especially around our protagonist Chak-hee. We learn of her humble beginnings as an orphan, and then see her notorious success at the law firm. She takes the condescension and criticism of those above her silently while plotting her own rise to the top. She has accepted her place in the world, but that doesn’t mean she’s not ready to change it.
In contrast, we know nearly nothing about Shi-baek. We know he’s eccentric, and we know he takes on a variety of clients without asking them to pay money. And we know he’s a killer…? Not really, because it’s too early to tell. But the show does seem to be setting him up as some sort of vigilante — or it could all just be a red herring meant to distract us from the truth. But kudos to Lee Kyu-hyung for his phenomenal acting! I loved him in Hi Bye Mama as a devoted dad, but I also love him when he plays a crazy wacko (Smart Prison Living, yes?). It seems like he’s taking the crazy part to the other direction this time, but we’ll know more in future episodes.
Given the legal theme of the drama, it is more often than not a little dark, tackling anything from corrupt corporations to serial murders. So if you’re not ready to dive into another dark, edgy world, May It Please the Court might not be your cup of tea.
That being said, there are pockets of humor here and there, usually due to the dynamic of our two leads. Whenever they share a scene, things take a humorous turn with the combination of an ambitious, aggressive, no-nonsense lady and an eccentric, deadpan guy. Though a love line seems to be expected in future episodes, I actually hope there isn’t one — our leads are honestly more fun as friendly rivals working together to solve cases while bickering like kindergarteners. They might just be the reason I stick around to watch.
- Premiere Watch: May It Please the Court, Love in Contract, Seasons of Blossom
- Bickering lawyers toss around insults in Disney+’s May It Please the Court
- Jung Ryeo-won faces off with Lee Kyu-hyung in Disney+’s May It Please the Court
- Jung Ryeo-won considering new legal drama
- Jung Ryeo-won and Lee Kyu-hyung team up in I Will Start the Defense
- News bites: May 21, 2022