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[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho"

2016/03/26 | 1014 views | Permalink

There is so much meta goodness in a shunned star actor playing a shunned star prosecutor who is out to rediscover the fun in his work after taking a tumble. The goodness is even greater when the promotion for this new piece uses these events for some fun humor. "Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" is Park Shin-yang's return to Dramaland. Hopefully he can bring the fun back with him.


Jo Deul-ho (Park Shin-yang) is a man who had everything. He was also someone who could not tolerate corruption happening right in front of him. After losing everything for revealing it, he becomes a lawyer out to protect those touched by injustice.

The Worrying

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The Dreaded Melo Turn

Korean dramas have already become darker in the last few years, with upbeat works being rare and many which are supposed to have a lighter side turning into tear-jerkers. It would be nice if this one can maintain the balanced atmosphere seen in its promotional material.

Unpopular Setup

No romance and no popular young male stars sadly means lower audience interest. "Monster - 2016" is a lengthy revenge and romance melodrama from some industry heavy hitters and "Jackpot" is a sageuk with eyes for Hallyu popularity. Things are already looking grim for "Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" in terms of ratings, which is why making a unique, quirky show with a loyal following could prove a better idea.

The Reassuring

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A Hoot and a Half

Despite the potential difficulties, the drama looks very entertaining. Its promotional material has had its ups and downs, unless someone can explain to me what the "Beetlejuice" teaser was supposed to achieve, but it still looks like the people making or at least promoting it are having fun with their work. This is of great importance when creating something. You cannot create quality entertainment if you have no interest in your own work.

Solid Main and Supporting Cast

Fewer drama fans might have interest in non-romantic pairings, but there is great potential for chemistry between an earlier Hallyu star and a modern Hallyu star. Park Shin-yang and Kang So-ra are good actors and the entire cast is filled with artists we know and love, who can do well with any character given to them. Good cast cannot save a badly made show, but it can elevate a well-made one.

Final Thoughts

"Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" can become a very fresh and fun work with a following which loves it for its identity. Among so many "human dramas" which fail to make approachable and warm stories and instead succumb to cheap dramatic thrills, it is about time we get more uplifting works. Bring on the high jinks, series.

"Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" begins its run on March 28th and will air every Monday and Tuesday at 22:00, on KBS2. It is directed by Lee Jung-seob, written by Lee Hyang-hee and features Park Shin-yang, Kang So-ra, Ryu Soo-young and Park Sol-mi.

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Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'

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