Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Divorce Attorney Shin

 Divorce is a scary word and we associate divorce lawyers with being a bit shady and after the big buck.  "Divorce Attorney Shin" balances drama and comedy as good as any film or series I can remember.  It was adapted from a webtoon.

 Attorney Shin, who got top marks after graduating in half the usual time chose divorce as his only practice because he thought it was where he could do the most good.  We learn that he became a lawyer because of his sister's accidental death (and earlier divorce).  At the time he had been a concert pianist and music professor in Germany. 

A few cases capture his methods.  A successful radio hostess, Lee Seo-jin is not concerned about her share of divorce proceedings, but wants child custody despite the fact she was in a sex tape and also failed to show up for an urgent teacher appointment.  Attorney Shin gets an interview with the young child and learns facts.  Without giving away how he further handles the case, an important outcome is that Seo-jin compels herself to work for Seong-han as a sort of handyman trouble shooter.   

Another case involves a cleaner woman who is abused by her mother in law and although she agrees her husband is a good man wants a divorce.

 In another case a woman refuses a divorce for husband who requires a liver transplant to survive.  His mistress is willing, but can't unless he gets divorced.  The wife is well acquainted and accepting the situation, but maintains she would rather be a widow than divorced. 

Another man is accused of beating his Vietnamese immigrant wife.  It turns out he is infertile, but she bears a child.  Not quite what you are thinking. 

Near the end he agrees to help a wealthy woman divorce her wealthy husband.  But this case has deeply personal ties to Attorney Shin. 

In another some what related instance a rival firm is annoyed at Attorney Shin and tries to spy and sabotage him, but the lawyer asked to do this becomes an admirer and wants to work with him.  Attorney Shin greatly distrusts anyone connected to that firm, but he has a clever trick up his sleeve and does get hired.

Many of the cases have been disclosed, but how they are resolved is more interesting.  There is more to the plot and more to the presentation which to my mind is very well done.  There is a romance, but comes from a surprising source.  Not involve the leading male or leading female.

Attorney Shin has two friends from his middle school days that are constantly socializing and supporting one another.  Other than them, Attorney Shin doesn't appear to have any friends.  A driving force for him is his young nephew.

There is a musical influence bearing in mind that he had been a concert pianist and likes to sing what he calls trot Korean, a sort of pop genre.  One quote as I remember is that "the silence between notes is as important as the notes themselves."  One classical reference is that Beethoeven adopted a nephew.

An uncle of mine through marriage was a lawyer and later a judge.  His brother was his partner and the two of them shared divorces.  Our uncle's wife claimed that her husband tended to save marriages while the brother (who had been divorced) tended to expedite the breakups.  I should add that the brother was basically a nice guy.

As usual I would like to note some of the cast and crew who made this series so captivating.  Researching was difficult because Koreans use different spellings for their westernized names.

Jae-Hoon Lee was the director with 6 film credits.

Yoo Yeong-ah was the writer with 13 previous scripts including a joint effort on "Miracle in Cell No. 7" (2013)  that had been remade in several languages.  It is a real tear jerker and I was fortunate to see one of the remakes in Turkish--check at http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2020/12/a-tear-jerker-from-turkey.html

Cho Seung-woo plays the Attorney Shin strikes me as a sort of Dustin Hoffman character, not strongly good looking, but very friendly and folksy smart.  He has 24 film credits with several national awards and has performed as the lead in a stage musical, both in the original and revised versions.

Hye-jin Han plays Lee Seo-jin in all episodes.  She is very charming and is conflicted with loyalty to Attorney Shin and offers to resume her work on radio and television.  She has 17 film credits.

Kim Seong-gyoon plays Jang Hyong-geun who is long time friend to Attorney Shin and is his office manager.  He provides the only romance after the agony of his own divorce.  Has 37 film credits.

Moon-Sung Jung played the third of the three close friends from middle school who happens to be a real estate agent in the same building  He has 20 film credits.

Kang Mal-geum plays the manager of a ramyeon shop visited by the three friends and eventually becomes a romantic interest of Jang.  Her film credits include "Squid Game" (2021) and "Thirty Nine" (2022).   Check:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/10/squid-game.html

Hwa-yeon Cha plays the former mother in law of Attorney Shin's sister who has mixed feelings.  She has 20 credits including a few very long running series. 

So far this is my favorite series I have seen this year.   Its blend of comedy and drama means you are never bored.

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