“A New Leaf” Weeks 3 & 4

I think the main problem I have with recapping this series is that it’s quite slow. It’s an enjoyable watch but when it comes down to talking about what happened, it can be a little difficult. The pace moves like a 50-episode weekend drama. I’m assuming that he will regain his memory at some point and battle between remaining his new self or going back to being a ruthless shark. I just hope we don’t get a rushed ending. Regardless, here’s a quick summary of what’s happened in the last two weeks.

***

The actress, Jung Hye Ryeong, spits at Seok Joo so Ji Yoon fills him in on their past.

Seok Joo starts to show a different side of his personality when victims of a previous oil spill case show up. He’d helped the oil company screw the fishermen royally by coming up with a deal where they compensated 100,000 people with $5.5 million in total. What kind of court awarded this? Five years later, they are back because their livelihood has been destroyed as the fish is inedible.

We learn that Seok Joo and Sang Tae have known each other since college. He’s twice-married with no kids and sullied his family name when he attributed his success in his college exams to tutoring at a time it was frowned upon.

When the fishermen (fisherpeople?) attend a meeting with the oil company and the lawyers, Seok Joo listens to them instead of rejecting their requests outright. They are willing to settle for 40% of  the $40K they are demanding and he tells them that he will review it instead of playing hardball and insisting on 5% like the company wants.  So basically, the greedy oil company took to the seas during a high tide and caused a spill then waited for nature to take its course and hide the damage. And after five years of a ruined ecology and livelihood, they want to pay those affected $2K each. I can get 50 times that in America for finding a strand of hair in my food.

They brought some of their catch to demonstrate how dire their situation is and Seok Joo wants to negotiate after inspecting it and agreeing with them. However, the oil company has had enough and ends the meeting.

After they leave, Seok Joo tries to plead with the oil company to work with them but he gets shut down. They are a little confused because he was the one who came up with the original plan so what’s with the about-face? They tell him that if he can’t stick to the script, they can easily find another lawyer. I’m with them. He’s been hired as their lawyer and not a mediator so he should do what he’s being paid to.

Rumors start to swirl about Seok Joo’s change in personality – does he have cancer? Meanwhile, the fisherpeople stage a protest outside the firm. Shouldn’t they be protesting at the oil company’s headquarters?

They throw their oily fish at everyone who walks out of the building and on another note, Seok Joo notices that his vision occasionally gets blurry.

The big boss Young Woo previously spoke to Seok Joo about reducing his workload so he takes the case off his hands. He passes it along to Kang who initially refuses thinking that he’d only been asked to assist but accepts once he knows that he’ll be getting the commission. The sad thing is that Seok Joo had previously helped his team but despite knowing that the guy is recovering from an accident, he can’t reciprocate. Something tells me he will need his help on a personal matter in the future.

There’s a touching moment where Seok Joo goes to visit his father but the older man turns off the light before he can go in. Will he ever tell him about his condition?

While Seok Joo is at the hospital for treatment, one of the fishermen attempts suicide.  In addition, the actress, Jung, pleads innocent, claiming that she had nothing to do with the rapist’s death but CCTV, her scarf and her DNA under his fingernails suggest otherwise.

Our emotional girl Friday, Ji Yoon, visits Seok Joo and updates him on all the happenings and is disappointed that he’s disinterested. What I can’t stand about the girl is that she acts like he’s some crusader when she knows exactly who he was. It’s like she thinks of him as a savior.

The prosecutor asks Jung to confess to the crime for a lesser charge. There’s no solid evidence but they also have her screaming voice on a neighbor’s phone recording so it’ll be better for her to plead to a lesser charge and serve less time than to get convicted of murder. Her shitty lawyer is of no help whatsoever and urges her to just plead out. Is he colluding with the prosecution? With her back against the wall, she agrees to it.

One of Seok Joo’s previous cases was one he took up when the previous lawyer just upped and moved abroad. The client was refusing to pay till he was released from jail so what Seok Joo did was extend the trial claiming that they were working on a witness which meant his client would languish in jail longer. His plan was to just keep extending the case that way. The gangsters paid fully and when he got to court, instead of getting him out like he usually would, he plead for mercy. The gangster’s employees are mad and he tells them that lawyers don’t get acquittals for guilty people. Since when?

The prosecution analyzes the voice on Park’s neighbor’s phone and determines that it’s Jung’s so they no longer plan to abide with the deal they made with her.

Meanwhile, Park’s clean-up guy viewed the CCTV and for some reason, calls Seok Joo to tell him that he recognizes the delivery man who visited Park as one of his women’s boyfriends. The only reason I can come up with for why he would do such a thing is that the plot required it.

Ji Yoon moves next door to Seok Joo at Young Woo’s orders and whines to him about everything. When she first told him that the prosecution was agreeing to accept a lesser charge, he told her that he smelled a rat and when she later knocks at his door at night to inform him that Jung was being charged with murder, he tells her to advice her to get a better lawyer. I really can’t stand how she whines and cries to him but doesn’t actually try to do anything herself.

Meanwhile, clients ignore that Seok Joo was in a serious accident and insist he take their cases despite Young Woo’s best efforts to steer them to other lawyers.

Seok Joo can’t ignore what the clean-up guy told him about the delivery guy so he tells Sun Hee the prosecutor to look into the other people caught on tape. They do and are told that the guy had held the job for a month so there was nothing fishy about his visit. The truth is, the clean-up guy paid them to say so and gave the guy cash and asked him to skip town. At first glance, one would wonder why he was willing to let the culprit go while an innocent woman took the fall but it was because keeping the truth from coming out and ruining his dead boss’s reputation was more important than having the right person punished. Besides, they could always deal with him at a later date.

Jung’s crappy lawyer informs her that despite the confession, she will be charged for murder and that she shouldn’t expect him to get her the lesser charge he’d advised her to plead to because he’s not God. She fires him on the spot. Her trial gets postponed now that she has to be assigned a public defender.

That evening, Irritating Ji Yoon ambushes Seok Joo with the news. She cries to him, yelling about how life sucks blah blah and that all she needs is a good lawyer. So instead of crying to him, how about going to find her another good lawyer? One that she can pay instead of hoping that this guy takes the case? What is her Plan B? If she doesn’t manage to appeal to his conscience then Jung is SOOL?

Since it’s a drama, Seok Joo looks deeper into the case and confirms with the clean-up guy that Young Ah, the delivery guy’s girlfriend, is one of the pregnant girls his boss made get an abortion. Now that Seok Joo is convinced that Jung is innocent, he takes her case pro bono.

All hell breaks loose. How can Cha Young Woo firm defend a former enemy? Park’s chaebol father feels betrayed and ends their business relationship. Other clients panic because this shows they have no loyalty. Will they also turn around and use information they have on them to attack them in the future? Young Woo tries to convince Seok Joo to drop the case, even recommending good lawyers he could work with but he refuses.

The trial begins and the prosecutor immediately objects – claiming that there’s a conflict of interest – and almost convinces Jung to fire the man who’d made her lose her rape case but she sticks with him.

However, what really happened that fateful day? Jung went back to the house to pick up some things she’d forgotten. A drunk Park unexpectedly returned and fought with her. That’s how he ended up with her scarf and her DNA under her fingernails. She managed to fight him off and he was still very much alive when she left.

Seok Joo and Ji Yoon demonstrate in court how the scenario the prosecution laid out couldn’t have taken place. They discredit the case that she was the aggressor and show that he got her DNA by grabbing onto her arm as she tried to flee.

Clean-up Guy feels betrayed but Seok Joo tells him that he can’t let an innocent woman go to jail to save a rapist’s reputation. His investigation uncovers issues with the security tape’s time stamp. In addition, he determines that her voice on the neighbor’s phone came from a drama airing at that time. Then he reveals that the delivery man had a grievance against Park because he’d made his girlfriend abort a child that he wanted to keep. He also convinces the girlfriend to take the stand and testify to this.

Ji Yoon’s sexy judge, Ji Won, presided over the case and presented himself as an intuitive, fair judge. Ji Yoon is ecstatic over the result and promises to treat Seok Joo to chicken and beer to celebrate.

When Seok Joo is back at the office, he walks past Jung Sun, a woman Young Woo informs him is his fiancee. It only took seven episodes to meet her.

Our amnesiac is flustered. He has a fiancee? She tells him that she came to the office because his phone was off. Hmm. They obviously aren’t a loving couple if she shows up weeks after the world learned of his car accident and it doesn’t matter if she was out of town at the time.

He talks to Young Woo of his fears about being engaged to a woman he doesn’t remember and tells him that he has to inform her of his condition. The older man doesn’t think it’s the best idea.

His fiancee showed up because the families had planned to meet for dinner but even though his hospitalized father cancelled, she still thinks that the rest of them can meet.

If he’s going to have a meal with them, he absolutely must tell her that he wouldn’t recognize anyone so he tells her that they need to step out for a talk. She wonders if the stories of him having cancer are true. I suppose she didn’t care enough to find out earlier?

He reveals the truth over coffee. She panics when it dawns on her that he doesn’t know a thing about their past and when she wants to scold him for not telling her sooner, she realizes that he only just learned of her existence.

She calls Young Woo to confirm the story and decides that they should still have dinner with her family while they figure themselves out.

We learn that her mother’s side is the chaebol family and that she has no contact with the father she pretends not to care for despite keeping his photo.

At dinner, we learn that their family business is being run into the ground by her incompetent uncle and they need him to marry into the family to save it. And that all they want from Jung Sun is to bring him into the fold and have babies.

Ji Yoon orders chicken and beer and sets it on the roof, waiting for Seok Joo’s return. It starts to rain when she sees him return and when she rushes over to him, is shocked he’s with a woman. He introduces her as his intern and she’s stunned to learn that he has a fiancee.

She’s upset when she gets back to her apartment because he’d ruined her plan to celebrate her first trial win and worst of all, he had a one night stand with her despite his engagement. She had earphones on when he informed her that nothing happened that night but now that he doesn’t even remember it, I wonder how this will be resolved. Unless I forgot, she hasn’t returned his watch but can that really be the trigger that brings back his memory?

Seok Joo’s win gets his firm positive press for winning difficult pro bono cases. So while many clients ran for the hills for defending the enemy, new clients flock to the firm.

A lady approaches the firm with a case of a young boy who’s accused of killing his father. His father abused his mentally challenged mother, was a suspect in her death and released after two years over insufficient evidence. Ji Yoon volunteers Seok Joo to take the case. *face palm* He reviews it and rejects it on the spot as he’s not interested in such cases.

Meanwhile, from talking to Sang Tae, Seok Joo finally learns of his dog’s illness and where to find him.

In other news, Young Woo works to recruit sexy but lowly judge Ji Won despite his interest lying in academia. Why? Because he has great influence on who he thinks will become the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

***

What do Korean fans think of the Seok Joo/Ji Yoon pairing? They are the OTP but if the netizens don’t like them then there’s a chance it won’t happen. I think it’ll be better if they just stay close colleagues. I think it’s okay for a character to be one’s “conscience” if she’s a wife or a best friend in a different field and I know that she’s just an intern but I wish her solution to all problems wasn’t getting Seok Joo to take the case and then crying and panicking when he rejects it.

As it stands, I think it would be great for Seok Joo and Jung Sun to fall in love for real and get away from her awful family. And as for Ji Yoon, she can end up with Ji Won – their names even go better together.

Till next time!

5 Comments

  • hipployta says:

    I want the supposed OTP of Seok Joo/Ji Yoon to happen. She can go off with Ji Won and I like the idea of him remembering and setting out to resolve the differences and perhaps fall in love with Jung Sun. He’s obviously going to help her either way.

  • tessieroo says:

    I know exactly what you mean by it moving slow, Triangle is doing the same thing. It’s strange that even though it bothers me, I’m still watching both. *keke* I like the paring of Ji Yoon/Ji Won but we’ll see where they take things.
    I’m more concerned about the dog than anything, when the hell is he going to find his dog? It better not be after it dies!

    • Orion says:

      I will never forgive them if he finds Khan after he dies. There are more shippers for him and his dog than most kdrama romances are worth. It’s a love that will last forever!

      I think the drama should have picked a focus or make the multiple focus more seamless. We get court stuff and law/economics-hurling scenes and then we get amnesia woes and rom-com vibes and it’s just really not picking an important bit to focus more onto.

      I hope they focus on his change as a person, myself. And not drown people in trials to do it. He looks cool in court and all, but I think the decision scenes are more important than the trials. Like his meeting with the actress, when he chose to represent her. That was powerful stuff for Seok Joo’s life. The actual case solving is not something we really need to see so much of.

    • Clockwatcher Clockwatcher says:

      I watch it like I watch my American procedurals and just enjoy watching the cases solved. However, if there’s supposed to be a larger story that should be wrapped up in a set number of episodes, they need to get to it.

      • Orion says:

        Oh, if this were like a Law & Order type of series, with Kim leading, I would love it. But since this is drama, only one season and does not only focus on said cases and victims, I can’t say I am enjoying those parts like I enjoy those series.

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