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[K-Drama Review] ‘Law School’: Legal Thriller That Is Fun to Put Together Like a Jigsaw Puzzle

Edited by Yang Young Jun
Translated by Kim Y.U

Credit: JTBC

A professor is found dead at the nation’s most prestigious law school. The victim was a former chief prosecutor and a concurrent professor. Police suspect an overdose caused the murder. Since the murder case happened in an institution where the top 1% of elites study to become legal experts, inevitably, it attracted significant public attention. What is the truth of this horrible murder case? This is the story of JTBC Law School.

Given the circumstances, the strongest suspect is Professor Yang Jong Hoon. He is the one who decided to resign from his district attorney’s office after becoming disillusioned with the unduly lenient sentences of the ‘prosecutor office’s real estate bribery case.’ Seo Byung Joo, who is the victim of the murder case, was acquitted by the court. Yang Jong Hoon has a motive. And his fingerprints were found on the instruments that were supposedly used to murder – the coffee cups and the bag of methamphetamine. The unprecedented law school murder case appears to have a personal grudge as its motive, but the case gradually falls into mystery as suspicions rise against others as well.

Credit: JTBC

Law school has faithfully captured the fun of the whodunit genre, which traces “who is the culprit?” among characters with different interests and intertwined pasts. And it tells the story of the main characters dreaming of becoming legal professionals and captures the growth of the youth. It gives the sense of politics as well. Overall, the series seems like a mixture of Sherlock and a school series. Depending on the viewers, the combination would garner varied ratings. But it’s also quite fun and fresh to see this mixture.

As the series takes place at law school, it is noteworthy that it deals with the precedents of various cases. The show addresses some of the current issues and controversies, such as unpaid child support, sexual violence against children, dating violence, gaslighting, and spy-cam-related crimes. Although it may not be directly related to the murder of Seo Byung Joo, it naturally merged into the story in different ways to add variety to the narrative and provide viewers with an opportunity to think about the issues. Legal knowledge like defamation stating fact and announcement of the accusation becomes more straightforward and more realistic throughout the episodes.

Credit: JTBC

It’s important to mention the main character, Kim Myung Min. He plays Professor Yang Jong Hoon, who everyone avoids because of his sharp tongue. But, he cares for his students more than anyone on the inside and presents a one-man show performance. Although the role similar to his previous characters in K-drama, such as his role in Beethoven Virus (2008) and The King of Drama (2012), it is hard to think of another actor who could do such a character better than he does. 

Lee Jung Eun, Ahn Nae Sang, Park Hyuk Kwon, Woo Hyun, and Oh Man Seok provide a stable balance next to Kim Myung Min’s character, who could go overboard. Ryu Hye Young, Kim Bum, Ko Yoon Jung, Lee Da Wit, Lee Soo Kyung, and Hyun Woo also add vitality to the play, portraying the joys, growth of law school students, and the confusion of being involved in unprecedented incidents.

The exciting developments of the story and the actors’ passionate performances draw the viewer’s attention strongly. Still, the relationship between the characters and the development of events is a little arbitrary. And as mentioned earlier, the main characters’ past is entangled like a spider web, which can be the critical point to entertain the show by showing its twist and new incident. However, if the process does not unravel them smoothly, it may lose the viewer’s interest since it tends to mostly rely on the coincidence in the relationship and the development of events.

For example, Lee Man Ho is the defendant in the child sexual assault case. Professor Kim Eun Sook was in charge of his case when she served as a judge. He turned out to have connections with Yang Jong Hoon, Seo Byung Joo, and even Kang Sol A’s twin sister, Kang Dan (if you look into the circumstances, it is much more complicated). Some of the show’s directing style felt dated. There are some difficult-to-read scenes, cheesy dialogue, and incompetent prosecutors and police that leave much room for improvement. A timeline that frequently goes back and forth between the past and the present and difficult terms in the lines can also be barriers to entry.

Credit: JTBC

Starting from the 8th episode, Law School will enter a new phase. Kang Sol A’s twin sister Kang Dan, a hidden character in the veil, will likely play a vital role in connecting the relationships of significant figures. In addition to finding the true culprit of the murder case of Professor Seo Byeong Joo, it will be the most important part to pay attention to in the second half of the story. How will it successfully link all the given clues? Since I have enjoyed the show so far, I hope it won’t end with the bitter name, “poor imitation of the American show.”

 

Verdict: Kim Myung Min shines his charisma once again after Kang Ma Ae and Anthony Kim (7/10)

 

Editor Yang Young Jun: There is at least one good part in every movie or TV series. A media geek who isn’t picky with genres.

Translator Kim Y.U: Welcome K-pop, K-drama, K-movie, K-culture fans. I hope you enjoy our news about K-entertainment.

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