Go Cheok-hee arrives for the interview at So Jung-woo’s firm and is dismayed to find that the tables have turned—he’s the supervising attorney now and she will be his office manager.  He’s not having it though and turns to Bong Min-gyu to lobby against the firm hiring her. 

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But Min-gyu has ultimate hiring authority and he decides she’s in.  He turns to Jung-woo and reminds him that he signed a contract and nowhere in that contract does it give him the right to object to hiring decisions.  He then turns to Cheok-hee.  She expects to get a similar lecture, but instead Min-gyu tells her that she only needs to walk out the door if she has a problem working with Jung-woo, haha!

With that decision out of the way, Min-gyu leaves and Cheok-hee remarks on how much Jung-woo has changed.  He tells her she’s right.  He got back to his old self once he stopped working for her, he says, and she accuses him (again) of ratting her out to the opposing party in the Ma Dong-gu case.

We flash back to three years ago and learn that Min-gyu’s dad, CEO Bong In-jae, used his connections with the bar association to ensure that Cheok-hee lost her law license due to her use of illegally obtained evidence.  It turns out, he didn’t need to influence peddle that hard though, because Cheok-hee willingly admitted to her wrong doings. 

After her license got suspended, the rumor mill claimed she retreated to live off her family’s wealth in Busan.  But in reality, she worked in the seafood market for her dad’s small business. 

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We get to see her easy rapport with her dad, who doesn’t approve of how she caters to her sister Go Mi-hee.  He tells her she should have reported Mi-hee for robbing her apartment three years ago, but Cheok-hee says she’s just trying to repay her sister for taking her mother away from her. 

Her father then turns the topic to the fact that she’s been in Busan for so long. He wonders if she got fired, and she lies and says she’s just on an extended vacation.

She finally returns to Seoul when she happens to run into Min-gyu during a seafood delivery to his vacation home and he offers her a job in his new firm.  Turns out—he’s the source of the rumors that she was luxuriating in Busan.  He told their colleagues he met her on vacation there, and they assumed the rest. 

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Cheok-hee’s first day on the job coincides with Jung-woo’s first consultation—which doesn’t go well.  He meets Lee Yong-yeon (Jung Soo-young), who hates her lazy husband.  But he’s not cheating on her, beating her or making her suffer at the hands of his family, so Jung-woo tells her she doesn’t have grounds for divorce and should rethink staying in her marriage. 

Cheok-hee brings them coffee during their meeting and uses it as an excuse to join the consultation. She jumps in with a whole list of legal grounds they can use to justify Yong-yeon divorcing her husband, but Jung-woo shoos her out to the hallway and yells at her for trying to help to break up a marriage. 

As he’s trying to usher Yong-yeon out, her mother just so happens to arrive at the firm too.  She wants a divorce.  Yong-yeon’s father has cheated on her for decades and she has a box full of proof to justify divorce.  Jung-woo sends both women home as Cheok-hee laments the fact that he let all that money get away.

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Then we get a glimpse at Yoo Hye-rin.  Apparently, Jo Soo-ah hired her to work for BF Law Firm.  She’s married with a baby now, and she must be going through tough financial times at home. Soo-ah and CEO Bong watch as she stuffs instant coffee packets in her pocket to take home, and Soo-ahs tells CEO Bong they should just let her be. 

We learn a few interesting things about the living arrangements of our leading characters as well.  Cheok-hee has moved into Min-gyu’s old apartment.  He lets himself in to help her unpack and when Cheok-hee calls him out on barging in without knocking, he apologizes but sits down to make himself comfortable anyway.  Cheok-hee tells him to get out, but it turns out he lives right next door.  When Cheok-hee realizes he owns her unit and the one next door, she scoffs, asking if he owns the entire building.  He deadpans that he does, lol!

As for Soo-ah, she lives with Jung-woo and his mom now.  Unbeknownst to Jung-woo’s mom, the money Soo-ah gave her to send Jung-woo to law school came from selling her apartment.  With nowhere to go, she just haaaaad to move in with her Jung-woo-sshi, didn’t she?

When Jung-woo comes home that night, we see that his room is a bit neater, but he’s held onto his burnt law books.  There’s a candy wrapper in one of the books and he picks it up and sniffs it, noting that it’s losing its smell.  (I guess that’ll be a significant tidbit to remember later.)

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Cheok-hee still feels guilty about her role in driving Dong-gu to suicide.  She’s visiting his grave on his death anniversary when his sister Ma Dong-mi (Park Joon-geum) arrives.  She’s livid that Cheok-hee would dare come there after what she did, and she yells at Cheok-hee to leave.  Cheok-hee asks Dong-mi to let her repay the debt she owes to her brother, but Dong-mi tells her she can repay them by never showing her face again.

At work the next day, Cheok-hee and Jung-woo continue to clash—each trying to encourage the other to quit.  Jung-woo forces Cheok-hee to eat lunch at a jajangmyun shop with the employees instead of going to an expensive restaurant with Min-gyu and him.  Good old Min-gyu orders an extra meal to take back to the office for her and describes her as fun with a great personality.  (I love that Min-gyu is so quirky and oblivious that he really does like Cheok-hee’s ball buster attitude!) 

Jung-woo laughs at Min-gyu’s description and tells him Cheok-hee treats her subordinates like crap and goes for what she wants without any regard for the consequences.  Min-gyu comes right back at him though, saying Cheok-hee treats her superiors like crap too and has guts.  Jung-woo then brings up the fact that Cheok-hee is determined to ensure that everyone who comes through the door gets divorced.  That’s not a bad thing either, Min-gyu notes, it’d be worse if people had no choice but to stay together, he says.

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Meanwhile, Yong-yeon tries to take Jung-woo’s advice and makes a list of the things she likes about her husband in an attempt to work on her marriage.  She fails miserably and returns to the office only to have Cheok-hee give her advice on how to find out if her husband is having an inappropriate relationship with another woman.

That night, Yong-yeon goes home and snoops.  She finds a hotel reservation under her husband’s name and, instead of being happy, she’s saddened at the thought he might really be cheating on her.  Her mom tells her to divorce him if he’s cheating.  She doesn’t want Yong-yeon wasting her life with an unfaithful husband like she did.  She’s even willing to hold off on divorcing Yong-yeon’s father so that Yong-yeon can get divorced first. 

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The next morning, we get to see a bit of Min-gyu’s work ethic.  Manager Yoon Jeong-sook (Hwang Yeong-hee) has figured out exactly what time he arrives each morning (9:43 am) so that she has his coffee ready for him when he gets there.  But apparently he’s only there for a sip of coffee—after he’s done, he turns around to leave.  “Since I came to work, it’s time to go home now,” he says, and he walks out as Cheok-hee stares after him. 

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Cheok-hee has bigger fish to fry though.  Jung-woo cleared out all of the things from her desk and hid them to boot.  She goes into his office and starts searching for her stuff, and he grabs her trying to kick her out.  The secretary, Woo Yoo-mi (Lee Yeol-eum), sees Jung-woo with his arms around Cheok-hee.  She also hears Cheok-hee speaking informally to Jung-woo and she totally gets the wrong idea—she thinks they’re exes. 

After work, Cheok-hee meets Lee Kyung to bring him on board to work at the new firm.  She arranged everything over the phone so he’s shocked when he arrives at the final interview to see he’s agreed to work with Cheok-hee again.  It’s hilarious—he’s still morbidly afraid and freaked out by her, but she acts as if she’s delighted because they can be friends now.  She takes his hand and forces him to sign the employment contract as he shakes in fear.

Jung-woo is having an after-work meal with Manager Yoon and Yoo-mi.  Yoo-mi brings up her belief that Jung-woo and Cheok-hee knew each other before they started working together.  He takes a big sip of beer as if it’s painful to talk about their relationship and says he and Cheok-hee should have never met again.  She’s like poison and was the first person to hurt him so deeply, he tells them.  And now they really do believe that he and Cheok-hee are ex-lovers. 

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Back at the office, Cheok-hee is stuck cleaning up for the night.  So when Soo-ah (who’s bought a new outfit to surprise Jung-woo by showing up at the office unannounced) gets there, she’s shocked to learn that Cheok-hee works with her beloved Jung-woo. 

Jung-woo rushes to the office to keep the women from clashing. Finding out that Jung-woo knew Soo-ah all along just confirms to Cheok-hee that Jung-woo told BF Law Firm about the illegal camera in Dong-gu’s apartment. 

Soo-ah and Jung-woo go outside and leave her to stew in her anger as Soo-ah protests against Jung-woo working with Cheok-hee again.  She saw how Cheok-hee treated him all those year ago, but he’s more concerned with the fact that he just realized her boss is Min-gyu’s father, and Min-gyu hired him based on her recommendation.  He tells her not to help him without telling him about it first anymore.

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Early the next morning, we see Kyung has arrived for work, but he can’t quite bring himself to walk into the building.  He keeps walking back and forth until he gives up and calls Jung-woo for advice. He’s still on the phone when Jung-woo arrives too, but Jung-woo’s not much help. They don’t know which one is worse—having to supervise your former boss (Jung-woo) or having to befriend your former boss (Kyung). 

Kyung thinks he has it harder—after all, if they’re friends they have to eat together, talk and hang out.  He can’t do it, so he pulls out a wad of cash.  He’s taken the security deposit from his apartment (so he’s homeless now) to pay the breach of contract fee.  Jung-woo tells him to put his money away.  He’ll save them both and get rid of Cheok-hee, he says.

But Cheok-hee is already on the offensive.  Inside the office, she’s changing the nameplate on Jung-woo’s door from So Jung-woo to “So Byun.”  (“Byun” means attorney so “So Byun” can be translated as Attorney So, but sobyun is also the Korean word for urinate, lol.) She won’t turn over the missing letters until he gives her back everything she had on her desk, and he has no choice but to give in.  Round one definitely goes to Cheok-hee, HaHa!

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He gets to work fixing his nameplate and Cheok-hee disappears.  He’s chagrined to learn she left the office with Yong-yeon.  They’re going to the hotel to catch Yong-yeon’s husband in action.  Jung-woo rushes to the hotel just as Yong-yeon knocks on the hotel room door and begins to force her way inside. 


I’m glad to report that Episode 2 continued with the fun (and funny) times.  As expected, Jung-woo has more spirit than ability when it comes to handling Cheok-hee, but I still think he’ll manage to land a blow here or there if he keeps at it. 

I find Cheok-hee quite intriguing (and much more likeable than I anticipated).  For one, she’s a lot sunnier about her turn in fortunes than I expected her to be.  She’s still a bit coarse and full of her old antics, but she hasn’t let the loss of her license get her down.  (I’d personally be way too embarrassed to show my face at a law firm again.)  But aside from her obvious discomfort with running into Soo-ah again, I have to agree with Min-gyu in admiring her willingness to get back out there again. 

Two, I suspect that underneath that tough façade, she really did care about her staff.  Why else did she think of Kyung to join the new firm? He certainly wants no part of her, but I got the distinct feeling that she was genuinely happy to bring him onboard. 

I am very curious about Hye-rin.  I hope they don’t tease us with hints of her home-life troubles only to forget her storyline in the midst of the OTP’s romance.  But I have to admit, my curiosity about her is secondary to the level of wonder I have about Soo-ah.  Her behavior is so over-the-top (despite the show’s attempt to gloss over what she’s done).  She actually sold her home to put Jung-woo through law school.  Who does that?

Divorce Lawyer in Love: Episode 1 Recap

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