We’ve reached the much-expected end of Lawyer, with not much surprises on how Deul-ho saves the day — yet again. Although his life was hung in the balance in ep19 (with Chief Prosecutor Shin arranging an assassination attempt), we are still pretty assured he will emerge unscathed to take down Chief Prosecutor Shin. And he did.
Narrative-wise, Lawyer has a rather linear form of story telling, with Deul-ho winning against the Big Bads in nearly every ep/ case. So much so, Lawyer has drummed into us that Deul-ho cannot fail. What is surprising though is how Deul-ho managed to convince 2 of the Big Bads to join him in taking down Chief Prosecutor Shin.
Since Chairman Jung has always been the one with the money and power, we’d earlier assume he will be the Final Boss. Plus, Deul-ho always had an axe to grind with him. End up, Chairman Jung falter (literally) in ep17, and the big scary Polar Bear with sharp claws end up strapped to machines on a bed and losing his ability for speech. Without the red faced screaming and throwing things about, Chairman Jung looks like a deflated teddy bear with his pale skin and small, piggy eyes. Like most of Lawyer‘s narrative, characters suddenly make a change for the better. In Chairman Jung’s case, he “suddenly” realizes his “errors” post-stroke, and even decides to cut loose his son, Michael, in order to testify against Chief Prosecutor Shin.
Same for Lawyer Jang, who had always despised his lowly son-in-law, and unscrupulously schemed against him previously. He too, suffers a physical debilitation (he had a minor heart attack), and is transformed into this understanding father-in-law, who encourages Hae-kyung and Deul-ho to re-marry. (seems like the trick to turn over a new leaf is to fall very sick in kdramaland)
Even Chief Prosecutor Shin gets offered an olive branch of redemption. Lawyer keeps teasing us that Chief Prosecutor Shin was a “different man” before. However, this portion is sadly never resolved. Despite Ji-wook + Deul-ho’s insistence to know why Chief Prosecutor Shin became corrupted, the Wily Fox explains it away as a case of power addiction. I dunno about you, but I feel kinda unsatisfied that after all the time we spent on Chief Prosecutor Shin — out of the 3 Big Bads, he gets the most screen time in flashbacks and current scenes — we get no answers. And I can’t accept the simplistic explanation it is “juz greed”. Cos during the entire time Chairman Jung was frothing at his mouth over Deul-ho, and threatening to send his thugs to kill him, Chief Prosecutor Shin was the one who stepped up to stop his train of thoughts. He had on several occasions assured Chairman Jung not to “do something silly” (aka kill Deul-ho), since he will take care of the Deul-ho issue. And he proceeds to “deal” with Deul-ho by doing absolutely nothing.
Ok, maybe the revelation that Chief Prosecutor Shin is the one who sent the Truck of Doom to kill Il-guk in ep1 kinda hints that he isn’t below stooping to murder, but to throw in this last tidbit seems contrived. As though Lawyer has to convince us that yep, Chief Prosecutor Shin was ALL along this evil puppet master, maybe Ji-wook + Deul-ho are mistaken. (or maybe Chief Prosecutor Shin happens to be the healthiest of the 3 Big Bads….)
That said, using Il-guk as the final blow to take down Chief Prosecutor Shin is a nice move. I have totally forgotten about Il-guk. By reintroducing Il-guk, Lawyer not only reminds us of Deul-ho’s reason for picking himself up from his previous funk, but also, the nondescript key which Il-guk handed to Deul-ho upon his death…that came to the forefront in ep19 as the literal key to take down the Big Bads once and for all.
Lawyer may have gaping holes in its narrative, and some rather unbelievable switching of camps between its characters (plus some rather under-used characters, like Ji-wook), but, it’s still a good watch. Even though the ending is clichéd, I love the heartfelt moments, the feel-good vibes of the Underdog wins, and of cos, Park Shin-yang capering across my screen. 😛