The drama gives up any pretension of having an actual ending, as writer Choi Hee-ra decides to instead serve up a final case. While there are several parts of the case that relate to earlier storyline movements, for the most part this is just Seok-joo and his team working to do the right thing. They collect information, investigate and, ultimately, act as negotiators in order to bring about a just and proper resolution.
We barely get to see the villains at all, and indeed, the ending shows that Yeong-woo and the gang remain mostly unmolested by Seok-joo's efforts, though the chief remains wary of Seok-joo's possible potential actions in the future. The ending is really more of a set-up to a sequel series- which is terribly unlikely to happen. The broader narrative point appears to be that Seok-joo can find success without necessarily having to do so in the flashy over-the-top aggrandizing way that characterized his behavior earlier on.
In fact, it seems like all the points he made earlier on about the difficulty of pulling off success with his own brand new firm were entirely accurate. In order to gain victory here he has to completely change the outlook of the strategy, bearing in mind that they simply don't have the resources to engage in a pitched battle. It's worth noting, though, that technically speaking, a pitched battle is mainly beneficial to a firm that wants to charge a lot of money to its clients.
That's just the economic reality of war. It's never actually worth the effort unless you're with the guys selling the weapons. Compare the celebration here to the celebration way back during the rape case. There's no party favors, no dark clubs, no ominous portents of more cases to come. It's just a band of lawyers cum friends enjoying the fact that they've maybe turned the world into a slightly better place.
I like to think that this storyline is Choi Hee-ra's way of coming to terms with the fact that her ambitious legal drama ended up not being the flashy success she hoped for. Sometimes the failures were in the writing, other times it was from factors beyond the production team's control. In the end, though, they did manage to make a pretty decent legal series that at least managed to give us some things to think about it without devolving to goofy fantasy at the slighest provocation. That, at least, is certainly worth something.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A New Leaf" Episode 16 Final"
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