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One Dollar Lawyer: Episode 12 (Final)

Though curtailed in length and confused in tone, One Dollar Lawyer completes its run and tries its hardest to not only tie up loose ends, but keep doing what it once did well. And while the ends are indeed tied, unfortunately all the hullabaloo behind the scenes has really shown in the drama’s production, and I’m left not entirely sure what it is I just watched.

 
EPISODE 12 WEECAP

One Dollar Lawyer: Episode 12 (Final)

Jumping right in where we left off, Ji-hoon and Mari visit Min-cheol in his swanky office. It’s meant to threaten him — and it does — but Ji-hoon acts like a doofus. Though he notices the stacks of cash on the desk, he winds up leaving the encounter with a stack of blank paper for his printer. Such is Ji-hoon.

Our wacky team of three reconnoiter at Ji-hoon’s fancy apartment home. Say what?! Yes, it’s our finale, and we’ve finally got eyes on where (and how) Ji-hoon lives. Moo-jang doesn’t fail to point this out, and I love the self-reference here. It’s as if the drama is saying, “I know we never showed you this properly, so here ya go, we’ll make a joke of it.”

One Dollar Lawyer: Episode 12 (Final)

While the team goes over their plans, Mari stares blankly at the photo of Grandpa Baek on Ji-hoon’s investigation wall-window. He quickly tears it down and says her grandpa is innocent — which leads to her surprise that he knows who she is, and Ji-hoon’s apt reply: “Did you think I was dumb?”

To further convince us that Grandpa Baek is A-OK, we get a flashback to a recent conversation with him and Ji-hoon where he says that he wants Mari to be part of a world where the outcome isn’t already decided (i.e., each case rigged by corruption and blackmail).

This becomes important later, because in a nice moment, he secretly helps Mari hack Baek Law Firm’s own database to find the incriminating information for which Joo-young once lost her life. Mari finds it, secures it, and shares it with Ji-hoon and it’s exactly the evidence they need regarding all the JQ Group nonsense.

One Dollar Lawyer: Episode 12 (Final) One Dollar Lawyer: Episode 12 (Final)

Meanwhile (and a little earlier), we spend much of the episode with Ji-hoon and Min-cheol. First, our team sets on a hilarious mission to make him and Ji-hoon look chummy, which is about the most ridiculous plan out there. But it works, and when Evil CEO finds out, he kicks Min-cheol to the curb. Except our team — and our lovely Prosecutor Na and Min-hyuk — are there to get as much information and aid out of Min-cheol as they can.

Then, what we totally expect to happen happens. Min-cheol looks like he’s screwed over Ji-hoon and the gang, and Ji-hoon looks like he’s about to get shot by Evil CEO during The Ultimate Showdown. But really, Ji-hoon and the prosecution are already several steps ahead. The whole scheme has been planned in order to get a nice tidy confession out of the CEO, which happens just as soon as his hubris gets the better of him (convenient, but buyable). Now, Evil CEO can rot in jail for ordering the murder of Joo-young, among his other crimes.

One Dollar Lawyer: Episode 12 (Final)

Although this final plot arc is supposed to be the culmination of all of Ji-hoon’s tragic backstory, it’s blown through so fast that not even the sudden time-jump of last week can help it. It’s not bad or badly played, but it is predictable. In fact, the only thing I found compelling about it was when Ji-hoon was talking to Prosecutor Na about his risky mission. She says he could die, and he says he already did… when Joo-young died.

At this point, I’m feeling bad for this cast. They are pouring all they’ve got into these scripts, but the rewrites and ostensible chaos behind the scenes are worse than the elephant in the room; they pretty much kill whatever this drama had going for it about six or seven episodes ago. Sadly, it’s not the first drama this has happened to, nor the last.

One Dollar Lawyer: Episode 12 (Final) One Dollar Lawyer: Episode 12 (Final)

Interestingly, as our drama wraps up and delivers justice, it’s also determined to end with a little heart, and a load of comedy. Our team argues over the 1,000 won fee, but Ji-hoon insists they keep it. And then we see him in action — much like we opened the drama — swooping in in all his oddball glory to save clients in dire straits.

All in all, this ending was a very valiant attempt to bring the drama back to its roots, but to simultaneously tie up the loose ends of the overarching storyline. It does both those things, but unfortunately, it’s not enough to hide the nonsense going on backstage. So, while I have to give a hearty applause for the production’s attempt to make the best of a worst case scenario, I’m also left a little salty. I kinda want my 1,000 won back.

One Dollar Lawyer: Episode 12 (Final)

 
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we should submit a petition for a moratorium on legal dramas / procedurals involving corrupt assemblymen/ chaebol CEOs and the accompanying tragic backstories and serial killers.

some thoughts:
-personally, i think Kim Ji-eun was miscast. Mari as a character probably required some amount of over-acting, but I felt too much distance from who the actress may be in RL and the person she tried to portray. For example, her stink eye looked sooo unnatural to me.
-I love NGM.
-whenever the Evil CEO showed up, I started thinking about joseph gordon levitt, so I wasn't as miffed about how this drama ended. In a way, I prefer this super easy one episode takedown where the villains are handing over the answers, over what may have been a three episodic resolution of a storyline we've seen 100x already.

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OMG, now I can't unsee it. You're spot on about the actor playing the evil CEO resembling Joseph Gordon Levitt. I've usually seen him play the villain in dramas (Alchemy of Souls, Prison Playbook), so he kind of plays against expectation, in a way, based on his appearance.

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hahah OMG they are identical!!!!!

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Sorry forgot to thank you for sticking with the weecaps despite the mess that the show became. We appreciated having someone to share the experience with.

Glad there was something random that has put a smile on a few people’s faces.

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@missvictrix Your intro is SO on point because that's exactly how I felt after watching this episode. This is the show (or at least the latest show) that made me go "what the...?!"
It's so weird that a show can wrap up all its loose ends and still feel weirdly out of wack. Like it got the job done but still made it feel like something was missing.

Even the whole reason I signed up for this made me just 🙄 and wondering why haha
I was just like the last client who just kept looking around as if he was being pranked because what even is happening?! The lawyer shows up in a swan boat and then starts vocalizing (or whatever its called) in his face before seemingly getting serious again.

One thing I can say is I've never seen a drama like this before and I'm not even sure if I mean that in a good or bad way haha

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The production issue clearly didn't help this drama but I wasn't a fan from the beginning.

The cases weren't really interesting, the painter family case was good but way too long.

The main plot with his father and fiancée didn't really bring anything, it explained how he got there but in the present, it just brought us a weird time jump.

I think the best 2 episodes were the story in the past with Lee Chung-ah.

Even Nam Goong-Min looked Iike he didn't know what he's doing in this story.

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I can’t even be bothered to share my thoughts I really hope they count their loses and forget season two of that ever was on the cards.
Unfortunately another drama where I only stayed for the bean. I feel that whatever the behind the scenes politics was trying to achieve no one won and they only succeeded in disappointing the audience.

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The last episode tied up the loose ends neatly in a bow, but it just felt unsatisfying. All the emotional upheaval and grief caused by this evil CEO and whoosh, everyone who needed punishing got punished, and Cheon Ji-Hun is the one who did the punishing. It was like this big build-up and then... done, with none of this shown, just told.
Now Cheon Ji-Hun's back to being wacky and even stranger. I just don't get that ending. When NGM started singing (?) the drama theme song to his potential client, I was cringing and dying. And it seemed to go on for such a long time.
But, I came to new realizations: (1) NGM is a professional - like how did he not die of embarrassment while doing this; and (2) he's meant to be an actor. I still love NGM and look forward to his next drama.

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I'm trying to recall other K-dramas that were abruptly truncated. One was 'Let's Eat 3' (due to the lead being called into the military). The other was 'A Piece Of Your Mind', a drama which mostly involved people talking to a small box (lampooned in 'Gaus Electronics'), that could have never been sustained through a full season. I know there were others, but I'm not sure which were always going to be 11 episodes and which got chopped down from 16.

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Wasn't this originally supposed to be 14 episodes?

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I don't agree with A Piece of Your Mind, they had a lot of story to tell actually.

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Nam Goong Min was in another drama, Wild Chives and Soybean Soup, which was truncated from 50 episodes to 26 due to low ratings.

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A rushed wrap up for an average show for me. NGM in the flashbacks was fabulous, and I'd probably dropped this sooner only for him.

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I forgot to mention about Jihoon and Minhyeok just swinging between titles. Can lawyers in Korea do that? Minhyeok saw his client was shady and just goes "well, I'm going back to the prosecution". I know this was lampshaded but then Jihoon does the same thing. He goes from lawyer to special prosecutor back to lawyer.
Not to mention seems weird he would be the prosecutor for the guy responsible for deaths of his father and fiancee and his own attempted murder.

There's a lot of suspension of disbelief involved haha

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Agreed - what was this? I was left confused for 30 secs and then decided I didn't care enough to try and figure it out.

NGM is a star. The two episodes of his back story were excellent and he continued to deliver in a drama that rapidly disappeared down the black hole of nonsense. I remain grateful that at least they didn't try to shoehorn in a loveline with Mari which would have been excruciating. (Which makes me think: is there something in NGM's contract where he will not portray relationships where he has to make physical contact with women? I'm struggling to recall one of his roles where he had to do more than simply make us believe something was going on.)

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Whenever I hear about episode cuts or rewrites or staff changes or whatever, I always think of Temperature of Love, where behind a fairly successful drama was a writer having her vision ripped out from underneath her, shred by shred, while the director went on a power trip and belittled her in every possible sense. I wonder what must have happened behind the scenes here for such a successful show to become such a shambles?

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Oh Namgoong Min--so much talent, such weirdly uneven projects. I wanted to like this and it seemed promising at the start, and I even rolled with the tonal shifts in the middle. But the wheels came off at the end and so once again I'm disappointed. I guess starting to fan NGM with Stove League meant my expectations will forever be too high, since that drama is pretty flawless imho. But I'm willing to wait for his next perfect project, whatever that may be. Sadly, it wasn't this one.

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So let's see, the incriminating document that Joo-young was killed for has been at Baek Law Firm, Mari's grandfather is so aware of this fact that he even helps her, yet, he and his firm have nothing to do with anything? I know the order to kill Joo-young didn't come from the law firm so there's that, but the law firm is still tied to JQ Group and the baddie CEO.

The episode cut didn't seem to do the show any favors, unfortunately, and the ending was a little rushed. In spite of the shortcomings, it was still fun to see Namgoong Min.

And finally, those sunglasses! I still want them all!

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