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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" Episode 4

2016/04/05 | 700 views | Permalink

Deul-ho continues to be one crazy son of a gun and he keeps making that work to his advantage. Episode 4 concludes Byeon Ji-sik's (Kim Gi-cheon) story, but the fight against Chairman Jeong (Jung Won-joong) is far from over. Instead a new case presents itself and while clumsily connected to all of our key characters in terms of writing, it keeps the show moving forward.

Before I move on to our new case, there is something I think is worth mentioning about the previous one. Much like Byeon Ji-sik, our cool grandma Lee Mal-sook is a character who gets some development, despite her short appearance in the show. Guest roles like "homeless man" or "dementia granny" are often stereotypes in drama, but this series reminds us that those are real people with real stories. Mal-sook is not defined by her dementia alone and her characterization and interactions with our team are wonderful.

Ji-wookMal-sook's deighter, Eun-jo and Ae-ra

Moving on to our new subplot, I come back to what I said in the first paragraph. Having a tenant vs. landlord case conveniently drop into Deul-ho's (Park Shin-yang) lap is not exactly quality writing. Making it directly connected to our main story's culprit and also be assigned to Eun-jo (Kang So-ra) is two steps too far in how convenient a set up can be. If one can look past the awkward writing which brings this new chapter of the story to existence, the fact that it moves our plot forward and leads closer to the truth is the bright side here.

Aside from the truth of this past incident, Deul-ho and Eun-jo are also coming closer to their respective realizations and partnership. Stand up and give Deul-ho a vigorous applause, for he has finally understood his current situation and revealed his motivation. It turns out that our hero feels too inadequate to represent people. It is good to see that he goes after this case to become worthy of his clients, rather than for revenge alone. Eun-jo also cannot resist helping him, despite being taken off the case, showing us she places justice above orders.


An important shift in this episode is that of our villains are now contemplating life-threatening solutions. Sin Ji-wook's (Ryu Soo-young) inferiority-fueled obsession is dangerous, but it is child's play compared to Chairman Jeong's cold-blooded methods. Sin Yeong-il (Kim Kap-soo) seems well aware of this and warns Deul-ho. This is an interesting move. Perhaps Yeong-il has some misguided faith that if he keeps helping the Chairman, he can prevent worse things from happening.

Whatever happens from now on, our heroes are faced with a relentless antagonist and with important decisions to make about their work, their morality and future. With Eun-jo being pushed closer to rebellion, the time when our two heroes can join hands is close. Unless we count Mal-sook joining said hands and wishing them many children together.

"Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" 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.

Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'


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