I admit I haven’t been bothered to watch the new shows on Kdramaland — blame it on a case of severe inertia. Only have been watching Lawyer and catching up on Journey to the West 2 (which btw, is hilarious). Then again, that leaves me with nothing to write. (eeps)
I’ve talked about Hye-kyung in Lawyer and her conflicting roles as a woman/wife/mother/daughter and her messed up feelings for Deul-ho, so today’s spotlight will be on Deul-ho’s second “opponent” — Ji-wook.
He’s another interesting one. Sometimes I gnash my teeth at his pigheaded stubbornness, yet other times, I truly sympathise with him. Like Hye-kyung, he is born to privilege, and probably harbours the same mentality to protect his legacy. Plus, he regards his father with deep respect. In fact, in ep13, Deul-ho has also hinted that Chief Prosecutor Shin wasn’t always so corrupted. Lawyer also dropped us hints in prev eps that Papa Shin admires Deul-ho’s tenacity and effectiveness, despite having to cross swords with him later on.
I believe it is Papa Shin’s constant reminders of Deul-ho’s strengths, coupled with Ji-wook’s natural urge to want to impress the father he respects, that cause Ji-wook to “turn against” Deul-ho. It’s like a classic case of sibling rivalry. If we view Deul-ho as the “elder son” who despite being a non-conformist, earns the approval of Papa Shin for being clever and productive, then Ji-wook is the “younger son”, who tries the exact opposite to angle for praises. Unlike Deul-ho, Ji-wook toes the line, he dutifully listens to Papa Shin’s instructions (despite harbouring doubts) — all in hope that one day, he will be regarded on the same level as his “older brother”.
(sidenote: i also keep getting the vibe that Ji-wook has a long time crush on Hye-kyung…and is kinda sore that Hye-kyung chose Deul-ho over him, despite the two families’ close connections)
Sadly, that never really happens. The harder Ji-wook tries, the harder he “fails”. In the recent cases where he ends up in the same courtroom as Deul-ho, Ji-wook is disgraced for “not doing his homework”. Because he limits himself to thinking only within the box, he lacks the broadmindedness of Deul-ho. Like in the first case where Papa Shin tells him to convict Ahjusshi Byun for murder + arson, he dutifully collects the evidence and so-called “statement”, convinced it’s an open-shut case…until Deul-ho turns up new pieces of information that say otherwise. Same for the child abuse case. Ji-wook latches on the CCTV footage of the young child running away from teacher and assumes it to be “proof” that the teacher is terrorizing the girl. He is taken aback when Eun-jo highlights that the “abused child” is smiling and happy in the video — not exactly what a scared kid will behave.
Well, even though Ji-wook is rather short sighted, he isn’t stupid or corrupted enough to look the other way. Like Deul-ho, Ji-wook has his heart set straight, and refuses to bow down to “higher powers” if he knows that in doing so, an innocent person will be implicated. Deul-ho recognizes this too. He understands that Ji-wook is sometimes caught in between his father’s instructions and what he feels should be the “right” approach, but strongly believes that Ji-wok’s heart will win out. That is probably why Deul-ho cuts him quite a lot of slack, even though Ji-wook is the one who arrested him, and subjected his staff to denigration by the Prosecution’s investigation teams.
And Deul-ho’s trust in Ji-wook isn’t misplaced. Several times, he does rise up to the occasion — such as apprehending Michael Jung, and more importantly rescuing Deul-ho, and later taking part in Deul-ho’s scheme to unmask the unhinged childcare principal. In ep13, Ji-wook is finally pushed to his limit — he has tried to place himself on Chief Prosecutor Shin’s side all along, ignoring the blatant evidence that his father is corrupted…however, his father’s insistence to arrest and charge Deul-ho for murder without evidence finally tips him over to — I hope — the “good side”.