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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" Episode 5


"Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" is relentlessly pursuing the right to be quirky and sometimes downright weird, as our hero creates larger-than-life schemes to protect his client. Eun-jo's new position as his rival in a case close to her heart gives us her backstory and leads her on the path we know she will take. Last, but not least, Park Shin-yang's granny pampering quota keeps being filled and yes, it is still adorable.

Our second case seems much closer to home for both of our leads and this makes it an even more emotional journey for them. Getting to know our main characters through the development of the subplots is an efficient way of keeping the plot moving without some necessary for sympathy elements being sacrificed. Deul-ho (Park Shin-yang) is clearly emotional, chasing after a simpler past through his cases. He is also very impulsive, which is an issue I will speak about in a bit.

Deul-ho and his new clientsDeul-ho and Hae-kyeong

When it comes to Eun-jo (Kang So-ra), it is lovely to see she is not as sheltered as she seems. She has been burned by the system and hopes to change it, she just happened to land on the wrong side of it. I like that Eun-jo is bubbly and clumsy without that being presented as some sort of a feminine ideal like in most dramas. Her behavior gets her into trouble, gets her disliked by clients and she thinks about it when this happens.

Coming back to Deul-ho, while his behavior is presented as a character trait, the outcome of his anger is getting hard to dismiss. With this temperament, Deul-ho would have gotten charged with plenty of things already and it is absolutely nonsensical that no antagonist has yet pursued him legally. There are a lot of things I can personally forgive for comedy, but baddies with levitating powers who never fight back will be seen as pushing it by many.

Ae-ra and Dae-sooDeul-ho and Michael Jeong

"Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" is a really campy show and while it has its plot holes and unrealistic elements, it seems mostly self-aware. Dramas often present outrageous concepts in a way which seems to underestimate the viewers' intelligence. This is not a realistic legal drama, that is for sure, but I can respect the creators for not trying to justify all of their issues. What does worry me a lot is that our main culprit is a comic relief, which belittles the gravity of his crimes.

I am looking forward to our duo of weirdos joining forces though. I think Eun-jo only realizing her position now could be seen as naive of her, but her wilful naivete is something people do. We need to survive and our conscience sometimes takes a break while we do so. I am glad Eun-jo's will be not silenced anymore.

"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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