Extraordinary Attorney Woo – K-Drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

First Day On The Job

Episode 1 of Extraordinary Attorney Woo begins with a beautiful visual metaphor. A single blue plastic duck among an army of yellow. Ever since she was little, Woo Young-Woo has always been the odd one out.

When she was 5, Young-Woo was diagnosed with autism, which explains why she’s quiet and reserved. She has Asperger’s Syndrome and when her father gets into an altercation with her neighbour, Young-Woo suddenly speaks up and recites criminal laws. She’s an absolute genius.

Young-Woo loves whales too and everything in her house includes these mammals. From puzzles and pictures through to slippers, she’s obsessed. It’s quite reminiscent of Atypical, another Netflix drama that tackled this and just like that series, Attorney Woo gets off to a bright start.

Fast forward to the present and Young-Woo gets dressed and eats her gimbap breakfast. She’s also given instructions by her father, including not speaking about whales in the office. She’s the first ever autistic attorney and even finished first place with honours at law school.

While on her way to work, she listens to whale noises on the train. It helps to calm her mind, and she even imagines a whale outside following along with the carriages.

When she arrives, Young-Woo meets Jun-Ho who greets her cheerfully in the lobby and brings her along to Attorney Jung Myeong-Seok’s office.

Young-Woo meets Myeong-Seok, along with his associates too. After brief introductions, Myeong-Seok takes Young-Woo’s application to CEO Han where he’s surprised by her accepting Young-Woo despite her being autistic. He’s clearly flustered when Han challenges his ideals and fixed way of thinking.

They strike a deal. Han agrees to let Young-Woo go if she can’t handle a case Myeong-Seok is going to give her. So our flustered attorney heads back and gives Young-Woo her first case.

This involves an old lady in her 70s. Her husband has dementia but whilst mouthing off, she struck him in the head with an iron. However, the iron resembles a whale so, naturally, Young-Woo changes the subject and rattles off a big ol’ monologue about how much she loves sperm whales.

When Young-Woo does focus again, we see what transpired between the old lady, Yeong-Ran and her husband. Their argument led to her striking him with an iron and as a result, she’s charged with attempted murder given it has taken him 12 weeks to recover. So what should Young-Woo be doing? Well, that falls to getting Yeong-Ran probation on her charges.

Yeong-Ran heads in and is introduced to Attorney Woo, but she’s quite taken aback by the fact she has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).

When Yeong-Ran does warm up a little, realizing that Woo was the little girl from the past, Young-Woo begins asking about their living arrangement. Now, it seems Yeong-Ran’s husband was actually a section chief but he’s now retired. They’ve been living off their pension and the house is actually in her husband’s name.

Off the back of this, Young-Woo conducts an Attorney Statement of Opinion including a not guilty plea for Yeong-Ran’s attempted murder. Myeong-Seok is shocked at the outcome she’s come to.

Woo fights her case though, bringing up how this is a civil case and how the murder would have actually put Yeong-Ran at a bigger detriment given she can’t inherit the house or anything else from him. So although she can’t fight against the physical assault, Young-Woo wants to change the cause to inflicting bodily injury instead.

Myeong-Seok is impressed with Young-Woo and apologizes for bluntly mentioning “ordinary attorneys” in front of her. “It’s okay, I’m not ordinary.” She says before leaving.

On her way out, Young-Woo is on course to visit the hospital but in order to do so, she needs to go with Jun-Ho. In the lobby, Young-Woo rattles off the pros and cons of revolving doors to him. Jun-Ho brings up her interesting name and helps her out the revolving doors too.

Yeong-Ran is there at the hospital watching over her husband, who’s still recovering. He happens to be the same man who got hot and bothered at her father during the past flashbacks. The guy is shocked at “that jerk’s daughter” arriving [referencing Young-Woo’s appearance] and everything escalates into a messy ordeal.

Back at the office, Meyong-Seok decides they should try and push for a jury trial. Just before they leave for the day, he encourages Young-Woo to work on her speaking for when this goes to court.

Eventually the case begins but Woo Young-Woo freezes leading Myeong-Seok to speak for her. It’s very much touch and go, with poor Young-Woo struggling to get her words out. When Woo’s sister and father show up though, she gains the courage to begin her opening statement. Woo begins by telling the court that she is on the autism spectrum.

The prosecution come on strong, firing rapid questions at Yeong-Ran and backing her into a corner. She’s teary eyed and apologizes, meaning the defence too need to up their game and begin an interrogation of their own.

Part of this comes from Young-Woo questioning Mr Park, with Myeong-Seok encouraging her to get cursed at by the old man to show off his prickly character. As she steps up, Mr Park immediately begins lashing out, cursing at Young-Woo, claiming the defence are all in cahoots together.

When court joins again, Young-Woo starts her statement but there’s a problem. Mr Park has actually died on his way to the hospital. Young-Woo blames herself for what’s happened. Jun-Ho is there for her though and encourages Young-Woo to talk about whales when they’re together to calm her mind.

This also has the adverse effect of helping Yoing-Woo focus on the crucial parts of the case, including how Mr Park actually already had a headache prior to the iron strike. It would appear that his brain hemorrhage occurred prior to this.

If that’s the case then the fact the doctor hasn’t diagnosed a fracture or any discernable wound from the iron itself, means Yeong-Ran is not in the wrong here.

Young-Woo brings all of this up in court, which ultimately leads to a favourable outcome for Yeong-Ran. And with the doctor determining that the brain hemorrhage was not caused by the iron strike, the jury help to confirm lift all charges from Yeong-Ran and come to a not guilty verdict.

That night, Han shows up to see Gwang-Ho, Young-Woo’s father, as it would appear the pair have history.


The Episode Review

Extraordinary Attorney Woo delivers a great first episode; a thoroughly enjoyable romp that looks like it could be a promising drama going forward in the coming weeks.

This series feels like a natural extension of Atypical, another Netflix series tackling autism. I’d love to be a fly on the wall for a conversation about whales and penguins with Sam and Young-Woo!

There’s a nice balance between comedy and drama here as well, and Park Eun Bin’s acting is really good! I’ve been a fan of hers for a while and she’s doing a great job with the character. This one looks like it could be a winner, leaving everything wide open for tomorrow’s follow-up.

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3 thoughts on “Extraordinary Attorney Woo – K-Drama Episode 1 Recap & Review”

  1. While I find some of the comedy attempts to be kind of silly, this show nails autism and the law. The legal stuff Woo comes up with aren’t made up or wild or crazy, they are just things that you would expect from experienced attorneys. The autism stuff is all very real for people with autism to varying degrees — I am a person with autism and I’m a lawyer — but they have her pretty much on the severe side of all of the things. That makes the idea of the romantic set up kind of strange because you would probably never expect a person with that severe of autism to be either interested or having the ability to be in any relationship (think Temple Grandin in the HBO mini-series about her). I am married but only because I met someone who can put up with my completely poor social skills.

  2. All I can say is WOW. Woo to the Young to the Woo! Absolutely Park Eun bins acting! Cant wait to see more episodes…

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