Lawless Lawyer (무법 변호사) is a South Korean legal thriller series that released in 2018, from May to July, and stars Lee Joon Gi, Seo Ye Ji, Lee Hye Young, and Choi Min Soo. It has a total of 16 episodes that run approximately an hour long. It is also known as Lawless Attorney. It was written by Yoon Hyun Ho and directed by Kim Jin Min.
I originally heard about this series from Michel and Kay, and upon hearing them rave about it, I couldn’t resist the excitement of it, especially since I have a major weak spot for legal shows. I finally sat down watched and first episode, and it immediately hooked me! With the fantastic acting, the amazing intrigue and suspense, and the irresistibly charming main character, Bong Sang Pil, I think I have found a show to be as addicted to as I was with Are You Human?
Lawless Lawyer follows Bong Sang Pil who is a ruthless and highly intellective lawyer that isn’t afraid of a little blood as he works around the fine lines of legal loopholes to obtain victories with the cases he takes on. After achieving success and renown, he returns to his childhood home where he hopes to exact revenge on the thugs who destroyed everything he cared about. With the reluctant assistance of a suspended lawyer named Ha Jae Yi, Bong Sang Pil will stop at nothing, using the technical tools at his disposal, to obtain his much-awaited vengeance.
I honestly don’t know where to begin with this one. I love shows that are badass and action-packed, even if they are slightly over-the-top. While nothing over-the-top has happened in Lawless Lawyer (yet), it still did an excellent job of tossing its pincers into my shoulders and holding my full attention for the hour-long pilot. As someone who as ADHD, sometimes that can be a very difficult feat, but that hour passed by so fucking fast.
The opening scene really sets up the tone of things to come later in the episode, and it does an exceptional job of establishing Bong Sang Pil’s character—an arrogant, super smart, no-nonsense asshole. My affinity for those types of characters came alive and I knew I had found a brand-new person to positively gush over. Honestly, he reminded me quite a bit of my brother, who was also an arrogant lawyer who had no fucks to give. So, immediately there was an intimate connection established between me and the protagonist.
As the episode progressed, we learn about Bong Sang Pil’s childhood and the driving force behind why he became a lawyer. This leads into the introduction of what his inherent goals are for the series. I expect things to get more complicated and unpredictable as things develop—it’s just a vibe I received after finishing the pilot—and, unlike the last series I watched, I don’t think they will be convoluted just for shock value. Given the intensity and the dark nature of the plot, at least via everything that has been implied so far, I sincerely feel it’s going to be an outstanding complement to the narrative. It was also very emotionally evocative. I found myself tearing up slightly at certain instances (I’ve turned into a sap in my older age), and I know that as he works on exacting revenge, these emotional provocations may get deeper and heavier.
Even with all of the seriousness, there is a light-heartedness that helps break that apprehension at perfect intervals so it isn’t a constant drain on the watcher, emotionally and mentally. Bong Sang Pil’s charm is in his arrogance, but also his uncanny ability to be right, all the time (so far). He is a complete bastard, but one that tosses logic into people’s faces in a way that just frustrates them because they can’t really argue said logic. I find it to be so marvellously amusing, and quite apt as a representation of lawyers that rarely lose (yay, growing up around lawyers). Throw some brilliant badass fighting skills, a killer smile and smouldering gaze, with sleek suits and an unexpected, underlying ability to empathise—you have one hell of a main character.
His chemistry with Seo Ye Ji—she plays Ha Jae Yi—is also pleasant. It isn’t super sexy off the bat, but the slight air of tension they have between them as they banter back and forth, formulating the groundwork for their given roles, can lead to some fantastic natural development depending on the factors that lead to their romantic progression. I also just really like Ha Jae Yi as a character. She is fierce and not afraid to tell men that they’re full of shit with their sexist beliefs, and fights (sometimes literally) for what she feels is right. I think she will be an incredible counter-balance for Bong Sang Pil’s conscience.
Overall, I absolutely loved what I saw of Lawless Lawyer so far, and I cannot wait to finish it up. If you are a fan of tight-knit thrillers, particularly legal thrillers, that has more of an anti-hero protagonist, and if you’re a fan of revenge narratives, then I highly recommend you give this series a try. Watch the first episode and see how you feel.