Lawyers is a Korean television drama (K-drama) that first aired in 2005. The series was produced by South Korea's MBC television network. The show follows a similar tone to other K-dramas I have reviewed in that there is plenty of soapy melodramatic content and a long, thorough story to get lost in. However, what makes Lawyers much different than other happy, lovey-dovey dramas I have reviewed is how this show takes on a somewhat dark tone, complete with violence.
The story behind Lawyers is an odd love triangle at the workplace. Years ago, Kim Joo-Hee (Jeong Hye Young) was madly in love. She had a great relationship with a caring man, who was working hard to become a lawyer. That man was Yoon Su-Ki (Kim Seong Soo). Su-Ki was about to go through the final phase of becoming a lawyer. At this point, he was trying to decide whether to become a prosecutor or a defense attorney. Either way, he knew that he wanted to care for Joo-Hee. Just as the two loved each other, Joo-Hee's family cared for him a great deal.
However, after a night of celebration (Su-Ki soon-to-become a lawyer and being officially welcomed into Joo-Hee's family), everything changed. Joo-Hee's parents were called by a patient, Hae-Soo. Being a good doctor, Joo-Hee's father went to attend his patient in need. As they were leaving Hae-Soo's home, Joo-Hee's parents and younger sister Se-Hee were in a car accident. The accident took the lives of Joo-Hee's parents and left Se-Hee crippled from the waist down.
While at the surface the accident appeared to be a cut and dry accident, Su-Ki was convinced there was foul play involved. He began an unofficial investigation, despite the authority's lack of cooperation, and found he was right. A gangster had planned the "accident" to kill a witness and Joo-Hee's family was collateral damage. Su-Ki, having stuck his nose where it did not belong, found himself a prime target for the bad guys. He was kidnapped, tortured, and agreed to join their ranks to stay alive. Immediately, he cut off all ties with Joo-Hee by telling her to forget him.
When Hae-Soo learned of the death of Joo-Hee's parents, she was stricken with guilt. If she had not called asked them to treat her that night, they would not have died. Hae-Soo convinced her husband, Seo Jung-Ho (Kim Sang Kyeong), to help Joo-Hee and offer her a job. Jung-Ho gave Joo-Hee a job as a secretary in the law firm he was about to join. Slowly, as the years went by, Jung-Ho and Joo-Hee fell in love with each other. The love, of course, was forbidden as Jung-Ho was married. But the chemistry was still there.
The drama boils to the point of exploding when Su-Ki comes back into Joo-Hee's life. For the past several years, Su-Ki, now going by the name of Alex, has been in America studying law. He returns to Korea to work on a big case that puts him in the same firm as Joo-Hee and Jung-Ho. The tension between them intensifies as they try to deal with each other's presence. To complicate matters, Su-Ki has a fiance named Deborah Hong and one of the seductive secretaries, Yang Ha-Young (Han Go Eun), tries to forcibly win Alex's heart.
The real interesting aspect is why Alex has come back to Korea. He is working for his crime lord boss, who was responsible for the death of Joo-Hee's parents, and trying to botch the case to keep the good guys from winning the case. He intends to do it by any means necessary. To that effect, he brings a troubled youth named Tommy (Jerome Do Sung-Min) to help him with computer hacking. Despite working for the bad guys, he has a good heart and falls for Joo-Hee's crippled sister Se-Hee.
As the story continues, the drama focuses on the romantic relationships and Alex's dark intentions. For the romantic relationships, Alex is dipped into several relationships, bad chemistry with Joo-Hee, a fiance, and a gold digging secretary. Jung-Ho has his wife and Joo-Hee to think about. The other angle, dealing with Alex's dark intentions have him going head to head with the good guys (Jung-Ho, Joo-Hee, and the other lawyers at the firm) as they try to stop him.
What is interesting about this show is Su-Ki/Alex. This is a character that was introduced as a wonderful, kind guy and quickly shown in a dark, evil manner. Alex is a conniving jerk and the drama that follows as he does some fairly bad things make him the most interesting aspect of the show. Seeing him turn darker and darker is intriguing. At the same time, there were instances when he would seem like a good guy and struggle with his feelings for Joo-Hee. The conflicted personality gave his character depth. On the flipside, storylines driving his character (and consequently the others) is pretty weak. It really seemed like there was not much effort put into it. The show seemed more focused on setting up the melodramatic love triangles than anything else.
Another weak aspect of the show was the characters. With the exception of Su-Ki/Alex, none of the leading characters were particularly strong. Joo-Hee came off very weak. This was partly due to her role. Since Joo-Hee went through some pretty traumatic events early on the show, it is not wonder she acts like such a frail character. But it still does not the change the fact she came off weak and never really made an impression on me. As for Jung-Ho, he was far too noble. He was the over-the-top, chivalrous knight in shining armor. The role felt too one-dimensional and I did not care for it either. As for supporting characters, individuals like Ha-Young were also lacking.
However, despite Lawyers' faults, the show has one incredible strength. Lawyers is unbelievably melodramatic and soapy. To the point, it is so bad, it's good. I had a difficult time setting this show down. Late at night, I could not help but watch one more episode. I had to know what happened next, no matter how bad it seemed. In the end, I thought Lawyers was a perfect overly melodramatic K-drama and those who enjoy this caliber of a show will enjoy every minute.
This release is given in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The picture quality is very good, providing a clear and clean picture with minor color distortions and compression artifacts. Both dark and bright colors are generally represented well.
The audio track supplied is in Korean 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The dialogue comes off a little flat and some of the soft spoken actors/actresses are a bit hard to hear. But the track is generally audible for most characters. The music sounds good; it is dynamic and vibrant. The only problem is that they use the same tracks over and over again.
For non-spoken language options, there are subtitles in English provided. There are a few grammatical errors and odd word usage, but for the most part the subtitles provided were easy to follow.
For extras, YA Entertainment has included twenty minute clips from the first episodes of K-dramas Damo, Phoenix, and My Lovely Sam-Soon.
Lawyers was not the best representation of K-dramas, but at the same it was perfect. What Lawyers provides is sixteen hours of soapy, overly melodramatic content. The story is unbelievable and will leave your eyes rolling with disgust, and some of the characters are just as limited as the story. But, the content is just so bad it is hard not to enjoy. In the end, this was not my favorite K-drama, but I enjoyed it enough to give a positive recommendation. It is perfect for those who enjoy very soapy dramas.