Lawless Lawyer- Episode 1 Recap
The episode starts with Bong Sang Pil (Lee Joon Gi) driving, exceeding the speed limits through a tunnel with music blaring. A police officer starts following his car on his motorcycle to stop him. Sang Pil seems to be enjoying leading the cop in a chase before he allows himself to be flagged down. As the cop makes him lower his window and asks for his license Sang Pil allows a glimpse of his stack of currency notes in his car on the pretext of searching for the license, which makes the cop act as if he is annoyed at his attempt to bribe him. The officer orders him to get off the car and moves to a blind spot under the CCTV camera installed in that road. He asks for the bribe when Sang Pil responds with giving him his license and his Business card which says he is a lawyer. The cop is undeterred and says that he will write him a bigger fine. Sang Pil responds by thanking him for providing the 7th evidence for the lawsuit related to bribery for his client and shows him a footage of both of them that was recorded now by the dash cam on Sang Pill’s car. He asks the cop to issue him a bigger fine and walks back to his car leaving the cop baffled. When in the car he gets a call from Tae Kwang Soo (Kim Byung-hee) asking where he is, to which he replies saying that he is on the way to save the thug’s accountant.
We see that the accountant is getting beaten up by a group of men who are extremely displeased with his actions. When Sang Pil comes, he is met by Kwang Soo who tells him that the accounted is getting beaten up badly and hurriedly gets into the car as Sang Pil drives away. He barges into the warehouse with the car and comes to a stop right in front of the group. He gets out of the car while recording the happenings around him gets a good view of the men’s faces on the camera. They try to strike him when he informs them that he is the accountant’s lawyer and he has come to take him. The leader orders his men to beat him up too and Sang Pil takes one hit and announces that he will defend himself from now. One of the men comes at him with a knife and Sang Pil relays the various degrees of penalties for assault with a weapon. He also shows them a record of their tax evasions for the past 5 years, 7 years in jail with aggravated assault and attempted murder, bringing the total to 17 years in jail along with 2 billion won penalty. He asks if he is going to go through with that over a small sum of 800 million won loss that his client caused. The leader feels that Sang Pil may report him to the tax authorities and makes a move toward him.
That’s when Dae Woon (Ahn Nae Sang) enters followed by 8 cars. The leader asks him if he was in on this and he replies that an accountant was looking for a job and he only introduced him to a smart lawyer.
In the courtroom Lawyer Ha Jae Yi (Seo Ye Ji) waits for the verdict next to an anxious defendant. The Judge rules against them saying that the case can’t be ruled as self defense. He sentences her to 20 years of imprisonment, which was more than what the prosecutor had asked for. After the defendant is dragged away Jae Yi confronts the judge saying it was self defense, and that she lived in an abusive marriage for 10 years. He says nothing justifies murder. She sides with the defendant and says that the husband followed her to the shelter and even hit her with the belt. The judge responds saying she deserved it. She further argues saying that the defendant was stabbed too and she had to do it to protect herself .He comes down to her and starts jabbing her repeatedly with his file asking if she is doing this because she herself is a woman. He insults the female lawyers by saying that they make the court room smell of makeup. He calls the guards to get her out. She screams out saying she is not doing this because she is a woman and that because he is wrong about the case. He moves closer to her to say something about his verdict but he is not able to complete his sentence because she punches him right in his eye and says “you are not right just because you are a judge”. This incident earns Ha Jae Yi a 6 month suspension.
At the disciplinary hearing, the judge asks for her to be disbarred and that suspension is not enough. She apologises showing absolutely no regret on her face still maintains that the verdict is wrong. He says he wants to put her behind bars for striking a judge. They demand her to post a letter of apology on the court website. The judge is horrified when she walks upto him to speak and we can clearly see that he is traumatised as he falls to the floor when she raises her hand. But she just holds her hand to her chest and swears that she didn’t do anything wrong as a lawyer and as a woman. She says that she is outraged and kicks him before going out of the room.
When Sang Pil heading home after training, a man on a motorcycle delivers a small package without a return address. He finds a small black book inside it. He opens it and reads the contents.
Jae Yi walks on the road when she receives the text message which says that her law firm has fired her as she passes Sang Pil and Kwang Soo. Sang Pil’s gaze moves from her to the large screen relaying the news of detectives Oh’s trial, regarding the murder of mayor Lee Young so. The trial will take place in Gisung district in 10 days and presiding judge for the case would be Cha Moon Suk who has turned down Supreme Court nomination thrice. He then makes a call.
He tells his uncle Dae Woon when drinking togather that he will be going to Gisung to open up his own firm. He also shows him the book. Dae Woon asks him if the woman is the reason behind him moving out to which he says yes. He also denies his uncles offer to send men with him.
Jae Yi stands in front of the lady justice statue and says that its very tough to live an honourable life. She feels apologetic towards her father as she looks at his picture on the phone. After she walks away Sang Pil walks up from behind the statue and thinks ‘they say time heals everything, but those are the ones who have never been hurt before’
Sang Pil and Kwang Soo drive through a foggy bridge to Gisung . They are stuck in traffic as there is an accident slowing down the vehicles. Sang Pil thinks that time stopped for him when his mother died.
In the flashback, we see his mother warning him (young Sang Pil )to never come back to Gisung and to never trust anyone from there either.
His thoughts return back to the present when there is a sound bite on the famed female judge Cha Moon Suk on the radio. Jae Yi is on the train reading an article on Cha Moon Suk . The camera pans out to show the train running parallel to his car both heading into Gisung at the same pace. She gets off at the station and walks to the beach while his car crosses her.
Sang Pil and Kwang Soo get off the car near a 40 year old building which houses a private loan office on the fifth floor. Kwang Soo says they are a bunch of thugs who scam the neighbourhood. Sang Pil says he will use them and that he wants to use the fifth floor for his firm. The office is noisy as he walks in, feeling that nothing has changed much. His gaze falls on a carving in the wood that reads his name. He recollects an old memory.
In the flashback, young SP recording a video, asks his mother as to why she is carving his name on the wood. She replies saying one day she will come back here and is sorry that they have to move again due to lack of money. He says it’s a way of life and gives her a handmade belt and says that ‘you are a lawyer and lawyers have to win’ and says that he wants to become a lawyer. On asking how do lawyers fight without swords or weapons, she replies ‘Lawyers fight with the law’.
We cut back to the present when Sang Pil tells the current tenants to vacate to which obviously the tenant doesn’t agree and asks his assistant to lock the door.
Jae Yi comes into her father’s photo studio (Ha photo studio). As they are having noodles she asks him if he will just say ‘is that so’ if she tells him that she got fired. He suggests that they go see a trial in which Cha Moon Suk is the judge.
At the loan office we see the loan sharks beaten up and Sang Pil tells them to talk to manager Tae (Kwang Soo) hereafter. Kwang Soo is clueless when Geum Gang explains that Sang Pil has agreed to take care of them.
At the courtroom Sang Pil seats himself behind Jae Yi and her dad who tells her that he knows she is fired and she apologises. He says he is embarrassed to face judge Cha. Sang Pil over hears this conversation. Her father asks if she still hates Kang Yeon Hee, the prosecutor (Cha Jung Won). Just then, Judge Cha Moon Suk (Lee Hye Young) enters the courtroom and the trial begins. She speaks about the case on domestic abuse that lasted through out 10 years. She says that Law and order should not be above people’s lives but violence shouldn’t be stopped with murder. Then she explains the reasons for her verdict and declares the defendant not guilty, stating it as self defense. Everyone is happy with the verdict as they walk out. Her father gets a call and his expression turns serious. When asked about the caller he brushes it off saying it’s a customer and he rushes of leaving her to catch up with judge Cha. Yeon Hee comes over to her and asks about her suspension and tells her she should’ve handled it professionally to which she responds that she is hot blooded. Judge Cha walks in saying its proves that you are pure if your hot blooded. Yeon Hee tries to talk about the suspension when Cha brushes it off and they walk away. Neither of them notice Sang Pil overhearing their entire conversation.
Geum gang and his gang ransack Ha Photo Studio. Jae Yi rushes in to find that her father has taken a loan and fallen back in repaying his debt.
Sang Pil is looking at an old book while Geum Gang and his men pack their stuff when Jae Yi charges into the office. She comes up to Sang Pil asking if he is the owner and if it’s right to use violence for getting payment. They have an argument and she threatens to report his illegal business when he informs her that this kind of behaviour will not help a lawyer under suspension. She is shocked to know that he has information on her and asks if he did a background check on her. He whispers in her ear that he doesn’t do background checks on people whom he isn’t interested in. She punches him in the face which lands her in prison.
Back at the office Sang Pil informs the loan sharks that he is a lawyer and from now on this will be a law firm hereafter and not a private loan company. They are shocked to learn this piece of information. He says they are not to break the law hereafter, but take advantage of it and they agree. At night when he is alone he recalls a memory, staring into the distance.
In the flashback, on a rainy night, his mother rushes into the office. She is worried when she finds out that young Sang Pil is there though she asked him to stay home. Seeing cars approach the building, she gives Sang Pil a photograph of herself with a man (Dae Woong) along with an address. She tells him that it’s his uncle’s ( Dae Woong) Seoul address and he has to go to him should anything happen to her. She reminds him again to never come back to Gisung and to never trust anyone from there.
His mother’s agitated and distressed lines keeps echoing in his ears as we come back to the present day.
Back in the flashback, his mother is surrounded by An O Joo and his men as they threaten her asking for the memory card. She denies knowing its location when he figures out that her son is here. He threatens to kill her in a loud voice till her son shows himself. Sang Pil comes out hearing this. Ahn Oh Ju holds Sang Pil captive and almost breaks his neck when Sang Pil’s mother gives them the memory card hidden in a book in order to save him. Oh Ju calls his boss (unknown figure) to ask what to do with both the mother and child now that they have the memory card. Sang Pil jumps in and swallows the memory card. Angered by the action Oh Ju says he won’t wait till he poops and so he’ll cut open Sang Pills stomach to remove it. He brandishes a knife and Sang Pills mother tries to stop him and that’s when he stabs her. She pushes Sang Pil out the door and closes the door before dying.
Scene cuts back to the grown up Sang Pil
In the flashback, He gets out of a window and tries climbing down the building. He finds a police officer Ha Hyung Man on the way and narrates the incident to him. Hyung Man sees Ho Ki who nods to him and disappears. Sang Pil discovers to his dismay that the Hyung Man is also in on the murder. He is captured and taken in the car when he overhears them discussing about burying both mother and son together. Sang Pill bites Hyung Man’s hand and creates confusion and the car topples. He gets out of the car and tries to run but Hyung Man catches hold of his raincoat. Sang Pil slips out of the raincoat and runs away.
Scene cuts back to the grown up Sang Pil
In the flashback, Sang Pil finds his uncle Dae Woong fighting among a group of people and tells him that he is Choi Jin Ae’s son. He tells Sang Pil that they are no longer in talking terms but takes him in after Sang Pil explains the situation. Sang Pil cries in Dae Woong’s arms saying that his mother died in front of him.
Scene cuts back to the grown up Sang Pil
In the flashback, Dae Woong and Sang Pil are having noodles when he asks his uncle if he is a thug. Dae Woong answers in the affirmative. Sang Pil says he wants to learn fighting, which his Uncle disapproves. Sang Pil says he promised his mother that he will become a lawyer, but his mother had asked him to never return to Giseng. But he intended on going back after he becomes strong.
The scene cuts back to present day, with Sang Pil wearing a determined look on his face. He takes the memory card from his book and watches a video recording of his mother telling him that the memory card has all the truth. He watches with tears in his eyes as she tells him to keep his promise of becoming a good lawyer like her and that she will be watching him.
The next day, he comes to the police station to visit Jae Yi and informs her that he is conducting an interview. He says that he will employ her as an office manager. When she asks her if he knows what an office manager does, he reveals to her that he is a lawyer. Seeing her shocked expression, he tells her that she should work as an office manager under him in order to repay the debt. She says she is a lawyer to which he replies saying that she is under suspension. After they take turns insulting each other he finally tells he that if she does a good job he will remove the suspension and even hire her as his partner. She says she has no intention of working with scumbags like him. He responds saying he needs someone with a fighting spirit like her and walks out of the room saying interview result will be out soon; leaving her dumbfounded.
On being released from jail she receives a message from him saying Congratulations, you are hired! She doesn’t hide her annoyance at his nerve.
Over drinks, her heavily drunk father tells her that he has disclosed his situation to Judge Cha. He also says that he will sell off the shop to repay the debt. Jae Yi asks him what he will do about her mom. He had told her that her mother will find them using the photo studio. He apologises and on the way back he tells her that he took out the loan to pay for her law school. She sees Yeon Hee on the way who tells her Judge Cha helped her get out of jail. Jae Yi thanks her and gets home.
Jae Yi joins the Lawless Law Firm a week later and tells Sang Pil that she will work just until her father’s debt is paid. She starts mopping the floor and reads her business card which says Lawless Lawyers, A king of Lawyers and says that the name suits him well. He takes her with him on his first case.
When they reach the prison, he asks her if she is seeing someone. She says that she is against office relationships and does not like overacting lawyers like him. He counters by saying that they already have really good chemistry.
He informs her that a well known lawyer has been already assigned to the case, so stealing the case won’t be easy. The prosecutor in charge is Kang Yeon Hee, who has the highest winning rate in Gisung and the presiding judge will be Cha Moon Suk. She asks about the crime and he tells her that it’s the murder case of Mayor of Gisung, Lee young Su.
A man in a black car is seen watching the Lawless Law Firm. He makes a call to Ohju Group and the person on the other end is An Oh Ju.
Back at the prison, Jae Yi asks Sang Pil as to why he took up this case as all evidence were against them and if he owed something to the defendant. The defendant is brought in and Sang Pil asks him if he would be interested in working with him as the lawyer, but Hyung Man denies his offer. That’s when Sang Pil notices the scar on Hyung Man’s left hand where he had bit him, bringing back his painful memories. He contains himself with a smile and assures Hyung Man that he can get him out of prison as Jae Yi looks on with a shocked expression.
Lawless Lawyer was my most awaited Korean Drama in the month of May. The first episode of Lawless Lawyer exceeded my expectations. The story is very interesting and it was fast paced for a first episode. This episode has a touch of mystery to it that leaves us wanting to watch more. The flashback is noteworthy with its touching and heartbreaking scenes. The portrayal of every character is done well. The chemistry between the leads is a treat to watch.
It is refreshing to see Lee Joon Gi in a different role with a touch of humour. He portrays the role of Bong sang Pil, a confident and efficient lawyer who knows how to use the law to his advantage. Sang Pil is also quick witted with good sense of humour despite his tragic past. Lee Joon Gi carries out his part very well with his amazing acting skills and not to mention his tailored suits.
Ha Jae Yi plays the role of an intelligent and daring lawyer who stops at nothing to stand for justice. She is a hot tempered and strong willed person who takes an immediate dislike to Sang Pil and his method of practicing law. She has portrayed her role very well and she had me in her introductory scene where she punches the judge.
I am eagerly waiting to see what the next episode holds.
My Favourite quote from Episode 1
‘They say time heals everything, but those are the ones who have never been hurt before’– Bong Sang Pil