Divorce Attorney Shin Season 1 Review – A decent character drama let down by a mediocre plot

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 11 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 12 -| Review Score – 4/5


Divorce Attorney Shin is a decent K-drama and defiantly refuses to be pigeonholed into a specific category. There are elements of romance but this is not a romantic drama; there’s thrilling moments, but it’s not a thriller; there’s a focus on law, but it’s not an outright law drama. So what is this show?

That question is perhaps something that plagues much of Divorce Attorney Shin and subsequently becomes both its greatest strength and biggest Achille’s Heel. The lack of focus does work to shift the focus onto characters rather than plot, but at the same time, causes Shin to craft a rather lackluster overarching story which feels incredibly forgettable, especially when you’ve finished all the episodes and had a chance to reflect.

The main character is Shin Sung-han, a former pianist who has turned to law to avenge his deceased sister, Ju-hwa. I won’t spoil too much about this because what actually happened is slowly unveiled across the run-time. Suffice to say, it becomes the main drive for Sung-han’s motivations as he strives to do right by his friends and his nephew, Gi-yeong.

Sung-han has his own law firm, specializing in divorce cases, and stands up for the downtrodden. Along for the ride are his two best friends, Jeong-sik and Hyeong-geun. The trio have great chemistry together and their comradery is partly what makes this show so endearing.

After the first few episodes, they’re joined by former DJ Lee Seo-jin, who wants to do right by her son Hyeon-u and joins the firm. Skip forward a few more chapters and Choi Jun is also another formidable player that joins the ranks.

The show then works to tackle various different cases, but their outcomes are generally quite perfunctory, with cliffhangers quickly resolved in the next chapter after a brief stint in court. At times, this undermines the general tension and suspense that the show builds, which is a shame because there’s definitely potential here for something closer to Extraordinary Attorney Woo, with cases that aren’t just black and white, but deal in shades of grey. Instead, that’s not the case here and there’s very little ambiguity over who’s in the “right” and “wrong”.

This lack of focus or complications with the law drama allows for the characters to grow together and witnessing their banter and general tomfoolery as the three guys hang out and share their secrets and drama, is really the stand-out element of this one. Divorce Attorney Shin is exactly what fellow K-drama Thirty Nine tried and failed to emulate, but the execution here – at least on the friendship side of things – is pitch perfect.

It’s just a pity that these characters aren’t joined by a similarly memorable supporting cast. With the exception of Seo-jin, who has a lovely story overall, everyone else falls by the wayside. Rival law-firm workers, Yeong-ju and Yu-seok, are particularly one-note and archetypal in their villainous display, with the former having little substance to her character.

Despite those gripes though, Divorce Attorney Shin does have some stand-out moments and there’s enough in this to make for an enjoyable watch. It’s certainly far from the best drama out there, and it’s unlikely to make waves in K-land in 2023. However, if you’re a sucker for a slice of life drama with strong friendships at its core, you should find enough to like here.

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  • Verdict - 6.5/10

4 thoughts on “Divorce Attorney Shin Season 1 Review – A decent character drama let down by a mediocre plot”

  1. I would have liked for the trauma for Seo-jin’s kid to not be simply damped down and swept kind of under the rag after episode 2… the guy was so traumatized that he had to be hospitalized, so would it really make sense for everything to simply become okay merely with her apology? And I don’t think that the neglect and missing the school event and not answering his calls when he was brought to the hospital got quite the follow up I was expecting in terms of the boy not trusting her, which I found rather strange given the context.

  2. I did like the Seo-jin arc with the 14 year old girl. It was original for the hater to have been a little girl.

  3. I liked Thirty Nine much better than this, though there are some similarities (such as Seo-jin’s neglect of her son and Thirty Nine’s ML’s wife’s neglect of hers being kind of swept under the rug with a simple apology and the matter being treated, I felt, rather flippantly). I kind of wish they made the husband even worse, without leaving “openings” such as him selling his house to save his brother or being there for his son when he was hurt and she couldn’t be reached because she was with her lover… if the goal was to make him an irredeemable monster her forgetting the school event and not being there when her son needed her, and her husband being there instead, kind of runs against the characterisation, given that the goal was to convey the idea that he cared for his son even less than her. He was a one-note and archetypal villain that was just irredeemably evil, but the lack of depth was kind of necessary in order not to feel repulsed with her actions and feel she was justified, and she did a net good by hurting and humiliating the guy. I.e., since she needed to stick around, the one she hurt and humiliated should have been the devil himself, so that one could avoid feeling any empathy for her husband and ignore her neglect of her son because her husband was so much worse.

  4. I enjoyed the lead character, but I was left wondering if he might have been gay. He didn’t seem to be attracted to any of the opposite sex and seemed to be very close to his two buddies, especially the Realtor. I was left wondering what was with his ex brother-in-law’s wife and why she hated him so much and did his sister walk in front of the truck to kill herself or not?
    I agree in that it was enjoyable developing the characters, but most of the court room plots left a lot to be desired.

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