K-Drama Review: ‘Extraordinary Attorney Woo’ A Harmless, Warm & Special Story

Extraordinary Attorney Woo review

Edited by Young Jun Yang
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Extraordinary Attorney Woo review
Credit: ENA

These days, everywhere you go, you hear stories about Extraordinary Attorney Woo. On Thursdays and Fridays, people are busy talking about the episodes that aired the previous day, and Woo Young Woo and Dong Geurami’s greetings have become the new trend. The clothes, bags, and items that Woo Young Woo uses in the drama are flying off the shelves. The viewer ratings, which started at 0.948% in the first episode, have seen a steep upward trend, eventually surpassing 15% in the ninth episode. Literally, it’s the “Woo Young Woo craze.” So why and how is Extraordinary Attorney Woo so popular?

Woo Young Woo is the rookie lawyer at Hanbada, the law firm that competes for the title “No. 1 law firm in Korea” with Taesan. Graduated from Korea’s top university with top honors, scored over 1,500 on the bar, and remembers everything she’s ever read – in a word, she’s a genius. But before she was hired at Hanbada, she was jobless for half a year. The reason for her unemployed status is simple; she has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Even on the first day at work, people don’t really seem to welcome her, but with her ingenious methods in solving the cases, she slowly wins the trust of her colleagues.

In many ways, Extraordinary Attorney Woo is a “kind drama.” Just take a look at the characters. Most of the characters are just so unrealistically kind and harmless. Maybe Kwon Min Woo can be considered a villain, but even he is just a very realistic, practical person. The overall story is also different from other dramas that create greater evil to fight the evil or tell a story about how the winner becomes the justice itself. Extraordinary Attorney Woo emphasizes the value of truth, goodness, and conscience. There is no so-called “exhilarating development,” but witnessing Woo Young Woo’s growth (both as a person and a lawyer) provides emotions and messages that go beyond “exhilaration.”

Extraordinary Attorney Woo review
Credit: ENA

The episodes in the drama are also noteworthy. Instead of criminal cases that you usually see in legal dramas, Extraordinary Attorney Woo mainly introduces civil cases or cases about the socially disadvantaged. Through this, the drama reminds us that though the law is a very specialized and complex area, it’s actually quite close to us in our lives and helps us relate to the story more. Except for episodes 7 and 8, one episode deals with one case, raising the viewers’ immersion with swift development.

The drama’s attempt to delve into people’s views on disability and the many problems they face in depth is also outstanding. Autistic characters with high intelligence or with exceptional talent in a particular field frequently appeared in dramas or movies over the years. And since Extraordinary Attorney Woo uses a familiar setting, there are, of course, voices of criticism about hardening the prejudice and preconceived notions against ASD. Nevertheless, the project is receiving more favorable reviews than negative comments because it continues to stress that “Woo Young Woo doesn’t represent all people with ASD” throughout the show. Additionally, the recent episode (episode 10) dealt with the topic of “sexual self-determination of the disabled” in depth, which shows how the drama pondered over “not using disability as a tool.”

But despite everything, the biggest contributor to the success of Extraordinary Attorney Woo is definitely Park Eun Bin. Writer Moon Ji Won’s delicate script may have been the basic foundation for the character, but it was Park Eun Bin that completed Woo Young Woo as someone with both innocent and adorable charms, all the while realistically depicting the characteristics of ASD. That’s why I applaud the crew’s decision to wait a whole year to cast the actress.

So far, we’ve watched Woo Young Woo grow. We laughed and cried together as we watched her get along with her colleagues, realize the true meaning of becoming a lawyer, and learn various emotions, like joy, frustration, and love. I sincerely hope that Extraordinary Attorney Woo will continue its warm and touching journey until the end and that we, too, can have a more mature perfection through the show. (9/10)

 

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.

 

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