Yangtze River Dolphin
Episode 12 of Extraordinary Attorney Woo starts with senior manager Kim Hyeon-Jeong in her office. She’s a decorated employee at her life insurance firm but that all comes crashing down when she’s called in to a meeting with her boss. With the structure of the company changing, she’s forced into resigning. If she doesn’t do this voluntarily, then her husband could go without his pay. “This is when you should support your husband,” Mr Moon, the Head of HR, says. Ms. Kim is shell-shocked and unsure how to take this news.
Outside, Hyeong-Jeong speaks to her husband. He uncomfortably reveals that the company wants to get rid of all the female employees. Anyone else sensing a sexism case building? Anyway, that’s the last thing Hyong-Jeong is thinking of now, shocked at the sacrifices she’s made for this company only to be treated this way. It’s tough to watch, especially as she drops to her knees and clasps her hands together, struggling to process this news.
At Hanbada, Myeong-Seok finds himself in a tricky position. An old case involving a dangerous man called Jang Jae-Jin looks like it’s coming back to haunt him. With a mad man on the loose, he’s convinced the guy is coming for him. Myeong-Seok ends up paranoid, jumping at everything while alone.
Still, the focus here is squarely on the discriminatory case that Ms Kim was subjected to at this life insurance firm. Now, given 98% of the females have already resigned, the argument that this firm “isn’t sexist” doesn’t quite hold weight. Given their husbands are being held hostage by the bosses during these negotiations, it’s perhaps hardly surprising that it’s come down to this.
Hyeong-Jeong is the one who has filed the complaint but Hanbada are actually defending the company’s interests this time, given that’s who they’ve been hired by. The opposing lawyer is Ryu Jae-Sook, who is well versed in these sort of cases. In fact, she’s well known to jump all over these social issues, even if she doesn’t have the best win-rate. Our Hanbada lawyers actually find her protesting outside prior to the courtroom meetings.
Myeong-Seok immediately brings this up as ammo before the judge, pointing out that it could undermine the fairness of the trial. The Judge though is more preoccupied by Ryu’s family name, given it’s the same as his own.
In court the next day, Mr Moon is on the stand and forced to face the words he’s said to each of these women; the sexist remarks about how they need to be housewives and support their husbands. Apparently these were his “personal opinions and irrelevant to the company policy.” Ryu throws this back in his face and unfortunately, as her name matches Judge Ryu’s, he allows leniency in the courtroom and for her to continue this line of questioning.
There’s even ore drama when it appears Choi, one of the women who testifies on behalf of the company, was actually given a pretty generous amount of money from Mir Life Insurance when her husband fell ill and couldn’t work. When Ryu asks whether this is connected to her being in the courtroom, she can’t answer.
In the hallway though, she ends up hugging Hyeon-Jeong, who points out that this who ordeal is unfair on them all. As for Hanbada, Young-Woo ends up having another lightbulb moment as she connects an ad for Huiman Women’s Hospital on the side of a taxi, to a keychain worn by one of the plaintiffs. Alas, the plot thickens.
Young-Woo is thrown off her game by Min-Woo’s bombshell reveal that night. He points out that Hanbada were instrumental in Mir Life Insurance’s restructuring plan. This whole idea of firing female employees was actually suggested by their firm. Oh, and he even has the consulting forms from Hanbada too so she can read it herself.
Young-Woo is not happy and confronts Myeong-Seok about this. He doesn’t deny it but Young-Soo sees this as a shameful thing to do. She continues on about how she wants to be an honorable lawyer but Myeong-Seok shrugs that off, pointing out that they have a job to do and sometimes that includes taking on difficult projects and clients. Myeong-Seok tells Young-Woo that her attention should be on defending Mir Life, given that’s who their clients are.
In court, Young-Woo brings up the hospital and its connection to the victims. Now, it turns out this is actually a maternity clinic specializing in infertility treatments. In order to get these treatments, one must visit the hospital three times a week for a month. This would mean the women need to leave work early and frequently for IVF. As a result, this is spun by Young-Woo to suggest the women are happy for the voluntary resignation given it’s beneficial for them. The Judge sides with Young-Woo, allowing the questioning to continue.
During a recess, Young-Woo’s confliction is only made worse when she speaks to Ryu Jae-Sook outside. She brings up how her law firm is different to Hanbada in the way they support people rather than clients. This throws even more confusion Young-Woo’s way, who finds herself unsure what to do.
Su-Yeon catches Min-Woo off-guard that night by mentioning that Jun-Ho is dating Young-Woo. However, Min-Woo’s gameplaying has only just begun. Remember those forms Min-Woo gave Young-Woo? Well, Min-Woo breaks into her office after-hours and puts her business card inside, addressing it to Attorney Ryu to take it seem like they’re in collusion together.
Young-Woo is obviously unaware of this and meets with Jun-Ho that night. He’s surprised by her declaring they’re not dating together, pointing out everything they’ve done. Sighing, Jun-Ho tells her that this has really hurt him.
In court the next day, Ryu presents the “anonymous” envelope sent to her including damning documents about Mir Life Insurance’s plans. Min-Woo watches in interest, hoping to see Young-Woo’s name pop up. Only…it’s not her documents. This is something else entirely and actually excerpts from Moon’s personal notebook one of the employees snatched up.
Myeong-Seok fights back though, claiming that it’s been obtained illegally… but that won’t fly given this is a civil case, and the judge even allows it to be used as well.
The verdict comes in after all this drama… and all claims of the plaintiffs are dismissed. The litigation costs are also to be paid by them too. Hanbada and Mir Life Insurance win. The judge points out how this isn’t gender inequality given it’s acceptable “from a socioeconomic perspective.” Not only that, but as they didn’t specify that this restructuring wasn’t only for women to resign, it’s isn’t seen as gender inequality.
Despite Mir Life Insurance winning, Mr Moon isn’t exactly *ahem* over the moon with joy. It turns out he’s on the verge of being fired. Given he was unsuccessful in his attempts at restructuring, the company are going to let him go. The trial and the rallies are too much for the firm to ignore. After firing around 100 employees, Moon claims that it’s karma if he doesn’t manage to get another job.
Ryu Jae-Sook decides to throw an after-trial party, something which Young-Woo and Su-Yeon decide to attend. They show up at her firm, with Young-Woo commenting how Ryu is like a river dolphin – and hopes a lawyer of her class doesn’t go extent. Ryu also shows off the envelope and her business card too. Ryu never used this in court as she knew Young-Woo would have gotten into trouble. So thankfully Min-Woo’s plan goes awry… for now.
As for Young-Woo and Su-Yeon, they listen to Ryu’s poetry while on the rooftop together. Naturally, Young-Woo ends up fantasizing about that dolphin floating by behind her. It’s a beautiful way to end a bittersweet and tough case.
Myeong-Seok heads up to his office that night, grabbling a weapon and determined to strike a shadowy man following him in the lawfirm. However, he receives a message confirming that Jung Jae-Jin has been caught so he has nothing to worry about. However, this little panic attack has an adverse effect on Myeong-Seok, who begins coughing up blood.
The Episode Review
Extraordinary Attorney Woo continues to show off its moral shades of grey, this time with a case that really tests Young-Woo’s limits and asks an awful lot of our attorney. Thankfully, Attorney Ryu has a conscience and she decides not to submit the evidence that Min-Woo planted. Although Ryu lost the case, she does manage to save Young-Woo, which is a big bonus. Sooner or later though, Attorney Woo is going to run out of luck.
It’s crazy to think there’s only four more episodes to go in this drama. This has been a really solid series and there’s certainly a lot to like with this one. The acting across the board has been excellent, and Park Eun-Bin’s acting has been next level here.
It’ll be interesting to see exactly where this one goes next but right now, Attorney Woo delivers a very compelling episode, leaving everything wide open for next week’s follow-up.