Han Yi Han was an elite surgeon. He graduated at the top of the best medical school in South Korea and he specialized in two departments: general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery. One surgery changed his life. Han Yi Han believed he did well in that surgery, but the patient died. He then got his medical license revoked. Four years later, Han Yi Han works as a lawyer, specializing in medical litigation. He also tries to uncover the truth behind the death of his former patient. In his trials, Han Yi Han defends victims and tries to punish those that commit medical malpractice and negligence. He works with a public prosecutor, who lost a family member and a lover due to the surgery Han Yi Han performed. (Source: AsianWiki) Edit Translation
- magyar / magyar nyelv
Where to Watch Doctor Lawyer
Cast & Credits
Cold delivery and predictable endingI will start by saying this: Shin Sung Rok as Jayden Lee carried the whole drama from the beginning to the end. So Ji Sub did a decent job. However, his delivery felt too cold and emotionless most of the time. While his expressions showed a little of his character, the tone and delivery of his line were the same throughout the whole series and in the end, it started to be annoying. I couldn't connect at all with a character that was adamant about taking down a medical center and its chairman but didn't show much character.
The FL was annoying. For a prosecutor, she felt too emotional and overly dramatic with constantly spilling the ML's plans to the enemy and then was surprised when the enemy was a step ahead. The romance between her and So Ji Sub (the ML) was so little that it wouldn't make a difference if there was no romance at all. It also seemed absolutely unnecessary for the plot to continue their romance (or non-existent romance) after the five-year-jump.
Overall, the show felt overly dramatic, especially the entrances to the courtroom. The finale was kind of predictable. The ML's and FL's acting (So Ji Sub and Im Soo Hyang) was average compared to other actors like Shin Sung Rok, Lee Kyung Young, Kim Tae Gyum and Woo Hyun Joo.
The drama is decent. Not too great and mind-blowing but not boring either.
Medical JusticeDoctor Lawyer is a suspenseful medical and legal thriller that merges the medical world of cardiothoracic surgery and courtroom atmospherics, against the backdrop of South Korean governmental and chaebol (conglomerate) politics. The screenplay leverages heavily on a revenge-justice narrative that features alternate approaches towards avenging perceived grievances and wrongdoings committed by multiple parties. Despite not being mentioned in the tags, there are certain elements of melodrama that lean towards the spectacular and somewhat amusing rather than the outright overdramatic and toxic angst. Expect an infusion of some romance and love triangle (primarily with supporting characters), a little bit of physical action but a whole lot of thrilling sequences particularly revolving around the surgical theatres and the courtroom proceedings.
Directed by Lee Yong Seok (Haechi, The Village: Achiara's Secret) and Lee Dong Hyun, based on the original screenplay by Jang Hong Chul (Class of Lies), this MBC production is streamed internationally via Disney+. It tells the story of a brilliant thoracic surgeon who loses everything and everyone overnight as a result of powerful forces at play which leads to his reinvention as a defence attorney some 5 years later, hence the title of the drama, to seek vengeance.
This is So Ji Sub’s first drama project since his wedding in 2020, with My Secret Terrius being his last TV drama that aired 4 years prior. The soundtrack features 4 songs, with Chen’s evocative ballad and outro theme An Unfamiliar Day being my personal favourite. Full listing as follows:
Freedom by Lee Chang Seop (BTOB)
An Unfamiliar Day by Chen (EXO)
Fight On by Yoo Hoe-seung (N.Flying)
My Shadow by Leeraon
What I Liked
Fresh from completing Lee Joon Gi’s Again My Life, which ended right before Doctor Lawyer began, there are similarities to be drawn between the two productions. Both are revenge-justice driven legal dramas where the primary antagonist is played by the same actor, Lee Kyung Young, in a near-identical capacity with a pervading aura of invincibility and villainy. Where the two differ is that the latter is a much more compelling, suspenseful and multifaceted drama, in my humble opinion.
This drama is made much more compelling and serious without the presence of mis-placed humour or rigorous attempts at comic relief. The antagonists (inclusive of the primary, supporting and “hidden” ones) maintain several layers of grey throughout which augment the complexities of the characterisation and add depth to the overall schemes and machinations of the various plotlines that make up the overarching story. The main characters, particularly the ML himself, exude an immense likeability factor that’s based on a fleshed out backstory while the absence of any distracting or forced “romantic complications” all contribute to the brisk and eventful storytelling.
Speaking of the storytelling approach, there are hardly any slow or boring moments in the show which consistently delivers exciting cliffhangers in many episodes and surprising twists and reveals towards the business end. These aspects certainly keep things interesting and engaging for the viewers indeed. Although certain plot devices and developments are neither completely unforeseeable nor exceptionally innovative, there is certainly no denying the entertainment value therein. I would also add that at least the cliffhangers are not faked or sensationalised to induce contrived red herrings merely to spike interest (and annoy) viewers.
Aside from my enjoyment of revenge-themed stories, medical and legal dramas are amongst my favourite genres, especially the all-action fast paced variety. This drama has all of the above in equal measure and presented in a low-key edge-of-the-seat style that evokes a certain measure of excitement. The frantic dramatisation of the surgical procedures are particular highlights for me, which are aided by the quality production values that infuse no small amount of realism into these scenes. As a medical genre, this drama is right up there in terms of top notch delivery.
So Ji Sub is a huge pulling factor that attracts me to this drama, coupled with the fact that I had never seen one where the lead actor plays 2 distinctly contrasting professions i.e. a surgeon and a lawyer. As the ML Han Yi Han, So Ji Sub does a fantastic job of blending all the emotions of an aggrieved victim of circumstances and drawing strength from them to exact his plan for revenge, as well as the juxtaposition between a mild mannered, naive pushover and an assertive, confident man on a mission. His portrayal may not be the absolute best and, at times, does feel somewhat subdued but his experience and charisma ultimately provide an aura of respectability and touch of class to the role.
Shin Sung Rok is literally the wild card of the cast, playing the effervescent and slightly manic American-Korean investor with a murky past, Jayden Lee. Think of his character as a more toned down version of the Riddler or even Joker himself (from DC’s Batman). I suspect he had as much fun assuming this role as I had witnessing his controlled histrionics. His interpretation of the character gives the drama a raw edge that allows it to expand beyond the usual scope of revenge themes and injects a bit of fun into the proceedings as well.
My third time seeing Lee Kyung Young this year, after his appearances in Again My Life and Why Her. His portrayal here is reminiscent of his performance as Cho Tae Seob in AML but I do feel that his character of Goo Jin Ki is better written without being as overly superpowered and linear as the former. The antagonistic Goo Hyun Sung is depicted by Lee Dong Ha, another actor who was previously seen in a similarly villainous capacity this year in From Now On, Showtime! Some actors just fit the villain profile perfectly, as is the case with him, but again I do feel the characterisation here is less one-dimensional and has a more evolutionary trajectory to his character arc.
Of the ladies in the cast, Im Soo Hyang who plays the FL Geum Seok Young feels more a supporting role than a main character. That said, even with the diminished spotlight and initial annoyance of her character’s narrow minded stubbornness, she conveyed her emotions very well and shared a convincing professional working relationship with the ML without being hindered by romantic tensions being shoehorned into their dynamic, despite their past history together.
What Could’ve Been Better
As much as I appreciate a positive outcome with complete closure of all threads, I do wish for a slightly different trajectory particularly pertaining to the overarching arc. That said, it's more of a personal preference rather than a fatal flaw of the screenplay. The ending is still good but could've been given a bit more depth and satisfaction, in my opinion.
Lee Joo Bin who plays Im Yoo Na has an interesting side story that focuses on the “love triangle” between her and Jayden Lee as well as Goo Hyun Sung. I’m generally glad that the drama stays focused on the revenge-justice theme instead of being sidetracked but the interactions between this subset of characters are actually rather fun to watch. It could potentially have a spin-off of its own because each character possesses enough backstory to be fleshed out given the burden that they carry resulting from their turbulent past.
The few individual legal cases that are showcased, all of which tie in to the main plotline, actually come across as quite intriguing in their own right. More of those would have been very welcome especially to highlight the details of lesser known medical conditions and the associated malpractice that had exacerbated those circumstances. As a consequence, the legal battles perhaps are not afforded more attention that they truly deserve.
Doctor Lawyer is an engaging revenge-driven drama that provides sufficient entertainment value through multiple twists and turns to sustain the 16-episode length of the production. It isn’t groundbreaking content but the smartly-written screenplay that seamlessly blends medical intricacies with legal proficiencies as well as having So Ji Sub as the main lead is certainly worth checking out.