Call me crazy, but I’ve decided to attempt to recap a currently airing drama in spite of the upcoming classic drama recaps I’ve promised to post. It’s all because of my soft spot for (1) underdogs, (2) Yeon Woo-jin, who I totally fell for in Marriage Not Dating, and (3) Jo Yeo-jung, who starred in one of my favorite dramas of 2011—I Need Romance.
Divorce Lawyer in Love seems doomed for failure. Not only is it on SBS, which seems to have been in a weekend ratings slump lately, there have also been a lot of high profile premieres left and right (with a few more to come) that threaten to leave this drama with comparatively few viewers.
All of the blogs seem to have written it off too—at least when it comes to recapping, so I’ve decided to recap it here. Because I have no time to devote to fully recapping the show however, these will be more like mini recaps or brief synopses of the episodes. Anything’s better than nothing . . . I hope.
Title(s): Divorce Lawyer in Love; The Divorce Lawyer is Dating
Starring: Jo Yeo-jung, Yeon Woo-jin, Shim Hyung-tak and Wang Ji-won
Original air date(s): April 18, 2015 to June 14, 2015
EPISODE 1 RECAP
The episode opens with a panoramic shot of Seoul then zooms in on a high rise rooftop where our nemeses face off. It’s So Jung-woo (Yeon Woo-jin) and Go Cheok-hee (Jo Yeo-jung). She’s a tempermental psycho (at least according to Jung-woo) and he’s a loser jerk (per Cheok-hee). He reminds her that he’s her boss and she scoffs, reminding him that he couldn’t even look her in the eyes three short years ago.
Flashback to three years ago when Cheok-hee is one of the top divorce lawyers in the country and head of the Blessing Law Firm, whose motto is “If you can stop seeing someone you hate to death, isn’t that a blessing?” Jung-woo is her overworked and unappreciated office manager. His only comforts are the firm’s two other employees: Yoo Hye-rin (Yang Ji-won) and Lee Kyung (Lee Dong-hwi) who we see let off steam during their down-time by clubbing (her) and doing meditative yoga (him).
The employees call her Chucky (from the horror movie Child’s Play) instead of Cheok-hee. She’s so evil that she calls them in on Sunday and forces them to work overnight. Luckily, Jung-woo missed her calls so he arrives bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on Monday morning to discover she’s decided to use illegally obtained evidence in their latest divorce case.
The case involves a popular actress Han Mi-ree (Lee El) who is divorcing her chaebol husband Ma Dong-gu (cameo by Song Young-kyu) on the grounds that he committed adultery. Jung-woo surprises her mid-rant to assure her he’s done his part by going through Dong-gu’s phone records so she stalks out of the office to grab a bite to eat—completely unaware that she put her coat on with the clothes hanger still inside—HA!
Jung-woo meets her in the lobby when she’s on her way back upstairs and tries to convince her not to use the evidence they have against Mi-ree’s husband. Not only did they obtain it illegally, but Mi-ree’s husband doesn’t even want a divorce, he reminds her. Cheok-hee doesn’t care though. Her only concern is winning, she tells him, and to her the husband’s claim that he doesn’t want a divorce is to give him time to hide or sell his assets so he can divorce his wife later without having to pay alimony or child support.
Cheok-hee heads to court while we’re introduced to Jo Soo-ah (Wang Ji-won). She’s the opposing counsel on Cheok-hee’s case and represents Mi-ree’s husband. Before Soo-ah heads to court, she has to find Bong Min-gyu (Shim Hyung-tak) to drag him there with her. Min-gyu is the son of the head of BF Law Firm, where she works.
He’s buying a suit for court and doesn’t seem phased by his father’s insistence that he attend the trial. After all, his father merely wants a gang of lawyers to appear in court to intimidate the other side.
Still, he follows her to court—after buying a second suit because a kid walks past him on the street and gets ketchup on the original one he bought. Smh. At least we learn that he’s not a total jerk. In fact, he’s quite kind. He stops the child’s mother from spanking her when she finds out the suit he’s wearing costs $20K and even gives the little girl money to replace her corn dog instead of insisting they buy him a new suit or pay his dry cleaning bill. Awww.
Apparently, Mi-ree’s divorce is headline news. Reporters are camped outside the courthouse to get the lawyers’ statements before they head into court. Turns out, that day’s hearing is for an appeal. Mi-ree alleged that Dong-gu had an affair with his secretary in a prior hearing, and Soo-ah tells the reporters that absent Cheok-hee producing evidence of the affair, the accusation is insufficient to establish grounds for a divorce.
The reporters turn to Cheok-hee for a rebuttal and ask her about the rumor that Mi-ree had an affair with a model and is really seeking a divorce to be with her new man. Cheok-hee doesn’t find this question quite to her liking and storms inside.
Jung-woo meets her and tries to convince her (again) not to use the evidence she has to prove the affair. She refuses to listen so he grabs her briefcase and runs to the bathroom, holding the bag over the toilet. He threatens to put the bag in the toilet if she doesn’t hand over the security footage she plans to use. She grabs his computer bag instead, threatening to let his brand new laptop fall into the urinal if he doesn’t return her bag.
She ends the standoff by agreeing to give him the CD (but methinks he shouldn’t trust her), then sends him to the store to buy her a new pair of pantyhose. Her hose were torn during their standoff.
While he’s off buying pantyhose, Cheok-hee heads into the courtroom with Mi-ree. It seems Cheok-hee knows Min-gyu as well. She greets him warmly in the hallway, and he notes that he’s looking forward to seeing her in action today. He’s been a fan of her acting since law school, he tells her.
Inside, Dong-gu and his sister try to convince Mi-ree to change her mind about the divorce one more time before the hearing begins. Cheok-hee is there to run interference though. She puts a set of headphones on Mi-ree and tells her not to listen to any nonsense before they get underway.
Outside, Jung-woo is finally back with new pantyhose. Cheok-hee decides to change right there in the hallway because there’s no time to go to the bathroom. Jung-woo is flabbergasted. He doesn’t know whether to hide his eyes or try to shield Cheok-hee. Soo-ah walks up and witnesses the whole thing—including Cheok-hee handing Jung-woo her old panty hose to discard.
Because this is dramaland, it seems they know each other too. He’s embarrassed, but she greets him warmly anyway. She knows his mom too, it seems, and remarks that his mom told her he’d gained weight. It looks good on him, she says.
Cheok-hee sees them talking in the hallway and wonders what they could be discussing. But the judge arrives and the hearing begins before she can investigate.
Inside the hearing, Cheok-hee moves forward with using the illegally obtained evidence she has of Dong-gu’s affair (as expected, she didn’t turn over the real cd). It’s a CCTV recording from inside the home he shared with Mi-ree and shows him kissing his secretary, Hong Eun-sul, in his office.
In a flashback, we see that Cheok-hee and Jung-woo paid a home visit to Mi-ree as they prepared for the case. Cheok-hee noticed the camera the couple installed in their living room to monitor their daughter’s tutoring sessions. The camera was broken, but Cheok-hee sent Jung-woo to buy a new one and coached Mi-ree to testify that the camera was the one they installed the year before.
Apparently, it’d be illegal to install the camera just for the purpose of monitoring Dong-gu’s private life, but if the camera was there with both parties’ knowledge and consent and for a different purpose, it’s okay.
Cheok-hee, of course, tells the court the camera was installed to monitor the couple’s daughter and the incident between Dong-gu and his secretary was captured accidentally. Dong-gu can only confirm that he knew about the camera and even watched the recordings with his wife.
The judge deems the evidence admissible and Cheok-hee plays the incriminating video in open court. Therefore, everyone in the courtroom, including the myriad of reporters, sees Dong-gu’s affair and it becomes front page news.
After the hearing, Bong In-jae (Kim Kap-soo), Min-gyu’s dad and the CEO of BF Law Firm, warns Cheok-hee that she’ll regret her decision to use such an unexpected method to win because he’ll be sure to use an equally unexpected method to bring her down.
Jung-woo tries yoga with the other law firm employee, Kyung, to unwind after his arduous day. But instead of relieving his stress, it just makes him gag thinking of Cheok-hee. He goes home that night to more stress. His mother, Jang Mi-hwa (Sung Byung-sook), nags him to clean his room. He has a room full of books—from his days of studying for the bar exam. Some of the books look burnt. There must have been a fire. He doesn’t care though. He insists he’ll take care of his things one day and his mother leaves in a huff.
By the next day, Dong-gu’s affair video has gone viral. When Cheok-hee’s office workers look at the video, Hye-rin notices his secretary’s limited edition purse. There were only three of them sold in Korea and Dong-gu’s company, DK Electronics, bought all three of them. She assumes it means he must have another mistress—because one purse went to Mi-ree, the other one went to Hong Eun-sul, so there is one left over. Cheok-hee hits Hye-rin on the head because she wishes she was the third woman (so she could get the purse) instead of frowning upon the fact that he may have been having another affair.
Cheok-hee pulls up the video too. Dong-gu is now known as the Nation’s Jerk, she notes, and this news causes Jung-woo to stand up and declare he’s heading home. Cheok-hee sees the disapproval on his face and follows him out, telling him she didn’t make Dong-gu cheat on his wife. He agrees that the affair wasn’t her fault, but that still doesn’t excuse the way she publicly exposed it though, he says.
He walks away and she has no time to follow him because just then she gets a call from her father Go Dong-san (Maeng Sang-hoon). Her sister, Go Mi-hee (Kim Yul), is headed to Seoul, he tells her. This news sends Cheok-hee into a panic and suddenly she’s not the cold, brass hot-shot attorney anymore. She feels guilty about something and rushes to her apartment to meet Mi-hee.
Mi-hee is already on her way out by the time she gets there though. Cheok-hee begs her to at least eat before she leaves, but Mi-hee tells her she’s only there to withdraw the deposit from Cheok-hee’s apartment. Cheok-hee takes her hand and says it’s been three years since they saw each other. She should eat before she goes, she says, but Mi-hee pulls her hand away and tells Cheok-hee to stop acting as if she care about her. It makes her sick, she says.
She screams at Cheok-hee, asking her whose fault is it that she’s like this, and Cheok-hee sadly promises to spend the rest of her life paying her back. Mi-hee is not having it though. Cheok-hee is no longer family to her, she says, and she storms out.
Cheok-hee heads inside her apartment and finds that it’s been completely ransacked. But when her father calls she lies and tells him Mi-hee never showed up there. Her father is relieved and tells Cheok-hee to be sure to change the passcode to her door. She hangs up the phone and starts cleaning up the mess. She finds a picture of herself with Mi-hee and another woman (her mother or other sister perhaps?) and is relieved that at least Mi-hee left it behind for her.
The next day the court announces the verdict in the Mi-ree/Dong-gu case. Mi-ree gets a significant amount of assets as well as alimony and child support. CEO Bong sees Cheok-hee in front of the elevator afterwards and asks her if she’s received the complaint he filed against her yet. Cheok-hee has no idea what he’s talking about, and he tells her she’ll receive it soon then. Breaking and entry, assault and violation of privacy are among the things she can expect to see, he tells her. Then he reminds her that he told her earlier he’d bring her down to the bottom. She should manage her employees better, he says, before he gets on the elevator and leaves.
Cheok-hee thinks back to seeing Jung-woo talking to Soo-ah outside of the courtroom that day and thinks Jung-woo told them about the illegally installed camera. Jung-woo’s birthday celebration is scheduled for later that night and Cheok-hee goes there only to throw his seaweed soup in his face and accuse him of betraying her. He has no idea what she’s talking about, of course, and things only go from bad to worse when his mother arrives (she’s a surprise guest) and witnesses Cheok-hee berating Jung-woo.
Jung-woo has finally had enough of her. He’s always hated her personality, but respected her skills, he says. He wanted to learn from the country’s best divorce lawyer, he admits, and after three years of working for her, she thinks he’d betray her. If she can’t trust him, he’ll leave, he says, and he quits on the spot.
Suddenly the lights go out and Hye-rin (completely unaware of the blow up) comes out with Jung-woo’s birthday cake. With the lights back on, she tells him to make a wish and he sighs and yells that his wish is to never see Cheok-hee again. He forcefully blows out the candles and storms out.
Cheok-hee is still pissed by the time she arrives home. She’s in the parking garage when a hand covers her mouth and someone drags her away. It’s Dong-gu! But he doesn’t have bad intentions—whew! He just wants her to help him reconcile with Mi-ree. Cheok-hee refuses to help him, of course, despite the fact that he actually seems quite sincere when he insists the affair was a one-time mistake because he was stressed about the scandal involving his wife and the model she allegedly seduced. (The secretary did use the scandal as a pretext to telling him to kiss her that day!) He tells her that family is the most important thing in the world to him, but his pleas fall on deaf ears.
The next day, we see Jung-woo’s mom with Soo-ah. Soo-ah’s parents are overseas and they’ve put Jung-woo’s mom in charge of getting Soo-ah married. Soo-ah teases Jung-woo’s mother that growing up, she’d always insisted that Soo-ah couldn’t marry anyone except her Jung-woo. Soo-ah obviously has a soft spot for Jung-woo. It seems he cut off contact with her when she passed the bar but he didn’t.
Because her parents believe only male lawyers will marry female lawyers, Soo-ah gives Jung-woo’s mom the money to send Jung-woo to law school. She tells his mom to make him a lawyer so she can get married.
The next day, Cheok-hee finds that Kyung is the only employee in the office when she gets there. Hye-rin didn’t show up for work, she learns. She must have quit too. Mi-ree left a gift for her at the front desk. It’s the limited edition purse that Hye-rin coveted when she watched Dong-gu’s affair video. Cheok-hee discovers that Mi-ree bought the three purses—not Dong-gu, which means Mi-ree set Dong-gu up. Cheok-hee realizes Mi-ree must have bribed Hong Eun-sul to kiss him that day to use as evidence of his affair.
Cheok-hee confronts Mi-ree on the set of her drama—where she’s with her model boyfriend and has no qualms admitting her part in the set up. Suddenly she’s not the meek, wronged wife anymore and says she researched Cheok-hee quite a bit to ensure she found a lawyer who’d use any means necessary to win the divorce case against her husband.
Cheok-hee finally grows a conscience and heads straight to Dong-gu’s office. It’s too late though. The news reports about his affair and the netizens’ anger over his immoral behavior has driven him to suicide. All she finds is his empty office with an open window and curtains blowing in the wind.
News of the suicide reaches BF Law Firm, where Soo-ah laments the fact that she’s already filed an appeal to the divorce judgment. That means Dong-gu and Mi-ree are still legally married if Mi-ree received the petition before his death. If so, Dong-gu’s fortune now belongs to Mi-ree and her daughter.
Cheok-hee rushes back to the drama set to find Mi-ree. When she gets there, she stops in her tracks. Mi-ree has the appeal in her hands. Dong-gu’s entire estate is hers.
Later that evening, Cheok-hee gets a call from the police. She needs to turn herself in for questioning in relation to the illegally obtained video.
Three years later, we see that Mi-ree’s career is better than ever and Jung-woo has become an attorney. He struts into work while all of the women admire him, and when it’s time to interview a new office manager for the firm, who should walk in but Cheok-hee. They’re shocked to see each other and Cheok-hee wonders what he’s doing there. To add to the fun, Min-gyu walks in just as Cheok-hee realizes Jung-woo is a lawyer now and she’s there to interview with him!
I know this was more of a recap than a weecap. I couldn’t seem to stop myself from typing, but let me assure you this was a one-off. In the future, my posts will definitely be more of a quick summary than a recap. I am still a fledging blogger, and I have no idea how the ladies at Dramabeans manage to bend the time-space continuum to crank out recaps on multiple shows like they do. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to replicate their success here.
As far as this episode goes, there’s nothing ground-breaking about the show, but I liked it all the same. If only it can keep the same light and comedic vibe with just a touch of darkness, then I think it has the potential to entertain us.
I like the fact that Cheok-hee isn’t as cold and callous as she seems initially. There’s obviously something going on with her family that we’ll get to explore as the series progresses, but there were moments even without the family drama to show us that she has a heart. She seemed almost on the verge of giving in to Dong-gu’s attempt to reconcile with Mi-ree when they were sitting in the car by the Han River. And when she realized he’d been set up, she tried to rectify the situation by going after him. It’s really too bad that someone had to die before she fully grasped that what she did was wrong.
I’m really looking forward to how Jung-woo pans out. From the looks of things, I don’t expect much suffering in store for Cheok-hee because she seems to have the ability to dish out way more than Jung-woo can take. Here’s hoping to Jung-woo continues to grow leaps and bounds. He’s eager to give Cheok-hee a much deserved taste of her own medicine, but I wonder if he has the heart to follow through.
Divorce Lawyer in Love: Episode 2 Recap