We finally get to an episode filled with hardcore legal action. For most of the first part Seok-joo and Ji-yoon are investigating the exact particulars of the case, looking for inconsistencies and possible points of reasonable doubt. Then for the second part Seok-joo does his actual legal wrangling in the courtroom. Seok-joo is a very serious, very skilled lawyer, amnesia notwithstanding. His inquiries make for a hard cold strike even against characters who aren't really bad people.
Seok-joo's investigation this time is a lot more clearly defined than his last undercover operation, which makes for a reasonably fun mystery investigation even outside the broader context of the drama. The guy has an excellent deductive mind- he's not portrayed as some sort of genius savant detective, but rather a man who knows how to consider all the angles. This fits in very well with what we saw of Seok-joo pre-amnesia. He is very much a defense attorney, in that he looks for reasonable doubt more than actual direct solutions.
This gives a fairly good voice to the objections Seok-joo with has dealt with from his disgusted family. The implication from his end has been that he serves despicable interests because that's the only use the world has for a cruel man like Seok-joo. The whole episode here strongly rebuts that point, and makes it clear that Seok-joo is quite literally capable of anything.
Ji-yoon's also benefits quite a bit from having a more clearly defined role. She's his sidekick, and to some extent, the comic relief. It's not a very impressive role in the larger context of the narrative, but it works very well here. For the first time she's actually acting like a subordinate and not putting on any airs about morality. Ji-yoon is now functional, and that goes a long way to rehabilitating her character's screen presence.
The other characters are all on the sidelines- quite literally actually. The focus here is on Seok-joo's performance in the courtroom and everyone else just watches. It's quite appropriate that Seok-joo simply doesn't care. Even when confronted on the topic of why he took the case, Seok-joo is cold, rude, walks away, and does his job. There's clearly going to be fallout from this, but that's the mystery "A New Leaf" is leading us into- how do you socially confront a man whose entire selling point is that he doesn't respond to social confrontations?
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 email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A New Leaf" Episode 7"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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