Somehow, Divorce brings to mind Choi Ji-woo/ Yoon Sang-hyun‘s Can’t Lose, which also stars 2 lawyers who are filing a divorce lawuit between themselves. However, that pair is a married couple, in Divorce, our OTP is in a boss-subordinate relationship, turned topsy turvy.
- Cho Yeo-jeong (from Haeundae Lover) as Ko Cheok-hee. 3 years ago, she was the hotshot lawyer specialising in divorce cases. 3 years later, she is demoted to working as an Office Manager/ Secretary for law firms — and where should her next job be, but as a secretary to her previous Office Manager, Jung-woo? Although no longer a lawyer, she still retains that haughty and brazen attitude towards work. At the home front though, she has a younger sis, whom she feels a sense of indebtedness.
- Yeon Woo-jin (from Marriage, Not Dating) as So Jung-woo. He grew up with (and had a neverending crush on) Soo-ah. However, cos he can’t pass his bar exams, he doesn’t dare pursue her (she is of the same batch, but successfully graduated to become a lawyer). Soo-ah though, secretly funds Jung-woo’s re-entry into Law School, and Jung-woo finally succeeds in becoming a lawyer (who specialises in, what else, divorce cases). Prior to setting up his law firm, he used to work under Cheok-hee as an Office Manager (aka Errand Boy), and since Cheok-hee isn’t the nicest boss around, he suffered under her hands…greatly.
- Shim Hyung-tak (from Let’s Eat) as Bong Min-gyu. ahhh…Lawyer Kim is back as a lawyer! Min-gyu works in his dad’s (Bong In-jae, played by the ever-sleazy-looking Kim Kap-soo, last seen in Blood) law firm as a lawyer. However, he appears to spend more time dolling himself up and splurging on branded suits and bags and shoes than actually working.
- Wang Ji-won (from Fated to Love You) as Jo Soo-ah. The girl whom Jung-woo grew up with and has a serious crush on. She also likes Jung-woo quite a fair bit, enough to know that he doesn’t dare date her before, cos she is a lawyer, and he is a nobody. So she secretly sponsors his law education. Soo-ah works as a lawyer in In-jae’s law firm, and unlike Min-gyu, she is responsible in her work, and very shrewd.
Disclaimer: I’ve only completed ep1, so the synopsis will be based on that.
We roll back to 3 years ago, when Cheok-hee undertakes a rather high profile divorce case between an actress, Han Mi-ran, and her chaebol husband, Ma Dong-mi. Mi-ran had appeared to Cheok-hee, all battered up, and claimed that her husband is having affair with the secretary. Cheok-hee manages to secure a CCTV footage that shows Dong-mi and said secretary engaged in (ahem) hanky panky, and wins the case.
In-jae is pissed that a young upstart lawyer from a small law firm managed to beat his established law firm (engaged by Dong-mi). He threatens to make Cheok-hee pay. And next day, Cheok-hee is summoned to the police station on charges of trespassing and blackmail (cos yunno, Dong-mi hasn’t invited her to his house to take the CCTV footage). Cheok-hee assumes Jung-woo rat her out, cos she happens to see him getting all chummy with Soo-ah, who was representing Dong-mi. She takes out her rage on Jung-woo, who quit in response. (imo, throwing soup over your employee’s face will guarantee an immediate resignation letter)
Later on, Cheok-hee receives a branded, limited edition purse from Mi-ran. Remember her other (female) employee’s gossip about the purse and that there are only 3 in the market (Mi-ran has one, the secretary has another…and now Cheok-hee), Cheok-hee suspects she may have been made use of. Which turns out to be true. Unlike what Cheok-hee assumes earlier Mi-ran (and not Dong-mi) has bought all 3 limited edition purse. Mi-ran has gifted one of them to the secretary — to bribe her to seduce her husband Dong-mi.
In other words, the whole divorce is a set-up by Mi-ran. Mi-ran purposely gets the secretary to seduce her husband in the room where she knows there’s a CCTV. And she made herself up to appear a battered wife in front of Cheok-hee in order to persuade Cheok-hee to take on the case. And Mi-ran’s objective is: money.
Well, Mi-ran does obtain her goal — and more. Cos Dong-mi, whose reputation is down the drains and his company is flailing due to the bad press, commits suicide. Since Soo-ah has filed for appeal after the divorce lawsuit, Mi-ran is technically not divorced yet. So she upgrades immediately to “widow” status, and automatically inherits Dong-mi’s estate.
3 years later (or current), Cheok-hee is no longer a practising lawyer. She is working in law firms as an Office Manager instead. And her next job application is at Jung-woo’s law firm. Jung-woo, after having quit his job under Cheok-hee, finally passed his bar exam and is now a full fledged lawyer.
Hmm..ok. Nothing too wow about Divorce, but nothing that bad either. Jung-woo appears to be the more compassionate lawyer type as opposed to the results-oriented task master, Cheok-hee. And even though their roles are reversed, Jung-woo still immediately jumps up to offer his seat to “Lawyer Ko” when he sees her at the interview session. (one well trained dog, isn’t he) But I bet things will very quickly change when Jung-woo realises that his ex-(horrible) boss is now his subordinate — let the bullying and payback begin!
Since Cheok-hee isn’t exactly a wallpaper flower, I got a feeling a little bit of pushing her around won’t even bruise her. But that is not to say she is a Terminator or something — I’m quite curious on why she allows her dongsaeng to trash her apartment and rob her clean. Her dongsaeng seems to hate her and blame her for some grievances, but imo, those “grievances” may actually be due to something Cheok-hee did to protect her family.
Divorce may well be treading kdramas’ tried and tested grounds — with our OTP having polerised personalities but managing to learn from each other to become better people — it will boil down really, to the chemistry our OTP has at the end of the day.