Due to the influence of ENA’s “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”, which was a hit, more and more people are looking for legal dramas.
Due to the influence of ENA’s “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”, which was a hit, more and more people are looking for legal dramas. As a result, not only terrestrial, cable, and general channels, but also online video service (OTT) are offering legal works. However, strictly speaking, even before ‘Woo Young-Woo’, stories about courtrooms have been airing like crazy this year. They doesn’t just talk about lawyers, prosecutors, and judges, but also add some variations to each work to express their individuality.
There were many legal dramas with different variations such as Netflix’s “Juvenile Justice” about a judge who specialized in juvenile crimes, tvN’s “Doberman” about military prosecutors, SBS “Again My Life” about a prosecutor who returned to the past, MBC “Doctor Lawyer” about a doctor who became a lawyer, SBS “Why Oh Soo-jae” about a law school professor who reveals corruption with her students, JTBC’s “Insider” where a police student enters prison and punishes the bad guy, and MBC’s “Big Mouse” about a lawyer accused of fraud.
‘Woo Young-woo’, the most hit court drama of the year, also featured a female lawyer with autism spectrum as the main character.
Above all, “Woo Young-woo” is meaningful in that it shows the fun of courtrooms even to viewers who are not interested in legal dramas. According to ENA on Sep 12th, the average female audience rating was 62.9%, 1.7 times higher than that of males (37.2%). By age, the proportion of teenagers was 9.8%, higher than those in their 20s (8.1%). 2.7% of those aged 4 to 9, 8.9% in their 30s, 23.6% in their 40s, 30.6% in their 50s, and 16.4% in their 60s. The number of teenagers watching with their parents (who are in their 40s and 50s) has increased, because the drama deals with legal disputes suffered by the socially underprivileged such as North Korean defectors, small business owners, and children in an episodic format, while leading the story in a bright and cheerful atmosphere.
If so, can the popularity of legal dramas continue after “Woo Young-Woo”? First of all, it is true that there are still many legal projects to be aired on the small screen. The baton was succeeded by KBS2 first. Since Sep 5th, KBS2 has been airing “The Law Cafe”, which tells the story of a legal counseling cafe with Kim Jeong-ho, a building owner who was a prosecutor, and Kim Yu-ri, his tenant who is a weird lawyer, as the main characters. Based on the original web novel of the same name, it is expected to develop as a ‘romance in the form of a legal drama’ with a little more emphasis on the love between the male and female protagonists. From Oct 5th, “Bad Prosecutor” will be aired in which a prosecutor armed with rogue and roughness will coolly crush the sanctuary created by wealth and power, and even the greedy people who live in it.
tvN’s “Blind”, which will air its 1st episode on Sep 16th, tells the story of a hot-blooded detective Ryu Seong-jun struggling to catch a serial killer, a perfectionist judge Ryu Seong-hoon, and a welfare worker Jo Eun-gi who always puts human before everything.
On Sep 21st, OTT platform Disney+ will unveil “May It Please The Court” starring Jung Ryeo-won and Lee Kyu-hyung. It is a courtroom mystery drama in which Noh Chak-hee, a self-righteous lawyer who bites anything for success, and Jwa Si-baek, a special lawyer who doesn’t care if he gets stuck, work together to pursue the hidden truth in a case.
On Sep 23rd, SBS will air “One Dollar Lawyer” starring Nam Goong-Min, which is about a man named Cheon Ji-hoon, who requires only 1,000 won as fee but has the best skills, fighting against wealthy lawmakers and expensive lawyers. It is a drama that is thrilling enough to include the word “action drama” in the introduction.
A day later, on the 24th, JTBC’s “The Empire of Law” will air with an opposite mood. It deals with the desire and hypocrisy of a family that has come to power by law, and the scandals surrounding them.
Kim Seon-ah takes on the roles of Han Hye-ryul, the head of the Central District Prosecutor Office’s special division, and Ahn Jae-wook as Na Geun-woo, Han Hye-ryul’s husband who has two faces. Lee Mi-sook, Shin Goo, Song Young-chang and Oh Hyun-kyung also appear. The content of the drama is heavy enough to remind viewers of ‘SKY Castle’, which also deals with families in the top 0.1% of the society.
Kim Heon-sik, a popular culture critic, said, “As the desire to watch law-related dramas grows, legal dramas will continue to be aired. However, we have to think about what kind of specialized legal drama that only K-drama can do,” he said. “Rather than the serious and heavy plot by mimicking the style of an American drama, I think soft stories like ‘Woo Young-woo’ or ‘The King’s Affection’ and ‘Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha’ would be great.” said Kim.