Diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, 27-year-old Woo Young Woo graduated at the top of her class from the prestigious Seoul National University for both college and law school due to her high IQ of 164, impressive memory, and creative thought process. Working as a lawyer, she finds herself struggling when it comes to social interactions. (Source: Soompi; Edited by MyDramaList) Edit Translation
- Native Title: 이상한 변호사 우영우
- Also Known As: Strange Lawyer, Woo Young Woo , Unusual Lawyer Woo Young Woo , Weird Lawyer, Woo Young Woo , Isanghan Byeonhosa Uyeongu , Yisanghan Byeonhosa Wooyoungwoo , Extraordinary Attorney Woo Season 1
- Director: Yoo In Shik
- Screenwriter: Moon Ji Won
- Genres: Law, Romance, Life, Drama
Where to Watch Extraordinary Attorney Woo
Cast & Credits
Woo to the Young to the Woo“She didn’t know how to be semi-interested in something. She was either indifferent… or obsessed.”: extracted from “The Kiss Quotient” (2018) by Helen Hoang, the book explores the life of an autistic lady Stella who hires an escort so as to learn social intimacy. The drama, on the other hand, lets an autistic young girl, Young Woo go out and spread her wings, in the process of which, she unexplainably finds herself in intimacy. Whatsoever, the drama revolves around her and focuses how she uses her abilities, disguised as disabilities, to solve and sort out issues, that seem difficult to the so-called normal beings surrounded to her.
Combinedly produced by AStory, KT Studio Genie and Nangman Crew, ‘Extraordinary Attorney Woo (이상한 변호사 우영우)” is very much a legal genre drama with little amount of romance, mystery and politics, in limited proportions. Written by Moon Ji Won and directed by Yoo In Shik, the drama was originally broadcasted on ENA and internationally distributed by Netflix.
The story follows the extraordinary 27yo autistic girl, Woo Young Woo (Park Eun Bin), who has graduated from SNU with top marks and becomes an attorney at one of the top law firms of the country, Hanbada. Despite her limited abilities to communicate with others, she quickly wins over her colleagues with her impressive memory and brilliant reasoning skills while solving cases and bringing forward the justness each time. Keeping her at the center and the team she is a part of, the drama introduces new cases every episode and the way they are dealt with, including their consequences.
Lee Jun Ho (Kang Tae Ho) is a member of the litigation team at Hanbada and the closest to Young Woo, while Jung Myung Seok (Kang Ki Young) is a senior attorney and Young Woo’s mentor. Choi Soo Yeon (Ha Yoon Kyung) and Kwon Mi Woo (Joo Jong Hyuk) are also rookie attorneys in the same team as Young Woo. Other regular actors in supporting cast, both experienced and rookie, are Jeon Bae Soo, Baek Ji Won, Jin Jyung, Joo Hyun Young and Im Sung Jae. For each case, there have been many familiar faces, in fact and I’m sure y’all will be delighted.
Plot development is episodic in nature, almost approximately standalone episodes, with few minor and continuous plotlines developing in the background which have their own climax. The introductory episode throws light upon Young Woo’s childhood and a leap showing her current life in late 20s. And in that episode, itself, we get to see a case and the courtroom battle that is solved by Young Woo’s wittiness. Since the plot is not a steady one, with each case in each episode, we witness her growth as a person and as an attorney plus the shades of different people surrounding her. A mystery to her past, her reception at the workplace as well as by her colleagues, her relationship with her father and friend and more importantly her love interest: all these as a part of the story, however, are put behind how she deals with each case along with her team. The peak of her story towards the ending of the drama was interesting though a bit painful, nevertheless, was very well wrapped up.
Upon reading the synopsis when the drama came out, I was immediately reminded of the 2019 Korean movie “Innocent Witness”; autism, courthouse, laws and justice, same elements though a different plot and an unusual storyline. I was in fact gladdened to discover that the drama is created by the same writer as the movie, Moon Ji Won jakka-nim, and it obviously made me expect something extraordinary out of it. And leaving no doubt, it lived upto the expectations, not just mine but of many hearts. The comedy incorporated was basic yet impactful.
People with autism spectrum are as special as others and can take the things they do and learn the best they can. In the world where we constantly seek love and validation, autistic people are those who demand a little more than us and when empathy slides through heart, it’s a feeling of trueness. I love how the writer sketched and nourished the character of Young Woo and let us see the world through her glasses of innocence.
Yoo In Shik PD is an ace and he didn’t fail at this either. With multiple qualitative hits, it was unlikely to become another average drama. Directing such a drama with multiple cases, introducing new stories each episode isn’t really easy and requires good understanding of the individual plot essences. The modern urban setup with light hue and solid yet undemanding palettes were sumptuously pleasing. The cinematography did wonders at place, especially the sunset-watching scene in the village, the scenery of Seokdong including the huge tree premise, etc. were beautifully done.
There are 6 OSTs in total and all likable
# “Brave” by Kim Jong Wan is a heart-touching warm song from the very moment it starts, till its ending, that is dedicated to Young Woo’s innocence and journey of self-discovery.
# “Beyond My Dreams” by Sunwoojunga is a prosperous ballad with beautiful lyrics that reflects one’s hearty words of love and emotional intimacy.
# “Better Than Birthday” by O3ohn is a soft electric track about confessions.
# “Tuning In To You” by Wonstein is a R&B jolly track that expresses mutual feelings of fondness.
# "Inevitable" by Bae Suzy is a softcore ballad with the feels of an old Kdrama OST that portrays the urge of letting out your feelings.
# “The Blue Night of Jeju Island” sung by uri Young Woo (Park Eun Bin) is the cover of the original by Choi Sung Won (1988) and popularized by Sung Si Kyung (2004) which truly one of the most recalled epitomes that defines the beauty of the place.
The best thing about Extraordinary Attorney Young Woo as a legal drama is that it introduced very very very untypical topics to the courtrooms, which are rarely portrayed in Kdramas, provided Kdrama legal shows only have handful types of cases debated over that ultimately lead to a politico-legal fight at the end. From false homicide to defamation to property disputes, from patent battle to North Korean defector issues to public interest cases involving regional land disputes and from sum settlements to discriminatory terminations to heritage tax issue, etc.; the writer has introduced a very wide range of cases that felt fresh and were interestingly alimented throughout.
Three reasons why the drama is different and better from other recent legal Kdramas are:
No dragged politico-legal fight between bigshots
Focusing more on laws and legalities than emotions and witnesses.
Portraying variable outcomes of each case, be it favorable or unfavorable.
The advantages and disadvantages of each result has been essentially useful messages for each episode. At times we win and adapt but learning upon defeat is necessary. Sometimes, its actually impossible to prove facts which lead to unfair results and you still fail to help it. Even in favorable conditions it matters how much confident you’re about the next time and spirited you have been in the process. Alterative ideas could surely be the way out of something when your plans go wrong but depends upon how wisely you use them. These are some of the points that I could infer from the outcomes of cases at the end of each episode.
The chemistry between Eun Bin & Jun Ho despite the little amount of romance was amazing to begin with; their first meeting at the rotating entry door and the follow-up from that point in each episode were apparent baby steps in the budding relationship of love and care; the rhythmic “dun-chak-chak” where I did melt. I understand why many people didn’t understand where it was going and were upset and complained but that is the best that could be done, provided Young is an autistic person with challenged social skills. They were not supposed to be lovey-dovey all the time even when they were in love.
Young Woo’s short responses as in “unn”, “umm”, “enn”, etc. were worth living for. They were funny and jolly at the same time. Her behavior as an autistic person were attempted to be made accurate as much as possible, from her talking habits to her reactions to certain actions, from her obsession with kimbap to her trying to stick to rules, etc. One basic point, I would have liked explanations upon is, Why exactly Young Woo was obsessed with whales or how it kicked off.
One gratifying thing was whales jumping outta water whenever some idea popped up in her mind in response to stimuli contributed by happenings and also her hair flying. Young Woo’s appearance too was very cute, with short hair of a homespun cut plus her plain skirts that went well with the huge side-bags. I loved the writernim’s attempts to make/let Young Woo learn, be it her personal or professional life and making sure that she adapts to things which she thought were difficult for her. The practicality was definitely maintained.
Attorney Jung Myung Suk’s character is one of the most likable and contradictory statements would be nullified. I thought strict, more of an evil man, who’d be an obstacle to Young Woo’s endeavors, but to my surprise, he turned out to be a fine ahjussi I’d die for. The way and the rate to which he went on to embrace Young Woo, upon realizing her abilities, was beautiful. Man, himself was so sorted and open-minded and patient, he barely was at wrong. The shades to him in the 2nd half were may be not important but the writer must have necessitated in order to portray the uncertainties in one’s life. Kang Ki Young has done so well, I swear.
I believe “empathy, not sympathy” was the key tool that drove the essence of the drama.
Like many audiences, I too feel there is no need for another season, but now that its been announced, I also feel like many others, that I would absolutely love one. The production surely is trying to piggyback on the popularity of this season but considering the type of split plotline the drama has used, I see no reason to object. It will be another interesting and fresh watch as long as the writer doesn’t bring forward typical elements.
Final Remarks… Honestly speaking, I wasn’t very excited about the drama at first despite my inclination for the 3 main cast, I thought it’d be another legal drama bearing political battle. But the buzz it created definitely helped me pick up some interest and starting the drama then made me realize how wonderful this thing is. Despite the unique plot element placed, i. e. Young Woo as an autistic attorney, I loved how simple yet influential the entire show was with fresh factors and accessories. The drama is definitely a success and I am so happy to announce that it has totally lived upto the hype. Will be eagerly waiting for 2024.
Extraordinary Story & Characters - Finished OrdinarilyOne of the most anticipated and talked about drama of mid-2022 which started on a high - with heartwarming story and characters, while showing the harsh reality of society but ended a bit-weakly. Overall, an enjoyable ride and it will definitely remain an iconic drama and in must-watch lists for time to come. Sharing my short & detailed reviews below:
✧❅✦ QUICK REVIEW ✦❅✧
Why You Should Watch It:
♥ Refreshing concept - great portrayal of person suffering from ASD
♥ Superb Acting by ALL characters
♥ Cute main-lead love story - will induce giddiness, make you curl your toes and smile ear-to-ear!
♥ Loveable and Hate-worthy Side Characters (the latter, cause we need a reminder that all in not rosy even in dramas)
♥ Good Reflection of society's good, bad and the in-between
♥ Beautiful, Addicting Soundtrack
♥ Funny and comedic relief to break-through the seriousness in storyline
What Might Bother You:
✘ No hard-core, well explained baddie/villain
✘ Some side-characters have weak character development
✘ Law cases are not as gritty and thrilling
✘ Ending is rushed (can be managed, but might leave some frustrated)
This drama is for you if you are looking for a cute romance story, set in the backdrop of attorneys navigating their way in the society - shown through the eyes of a genius woman suffering from ASD. You get preview of her friendships and family, initial inhibition of people on accepting people with ASD, how they try to understand and sympathize, while others choose not to - and both sides are valid and real.
Watch it for - Woo Young Woo's acting, Jeon-Ho's charms, cute moments, some brilliantly executed cases, comedy from our loveable side characters and portrayal of those who suffer from ASD - so that we can learn and be kind in our real life!
........................................ || not spoiler, but some hints are there at storyline - read with caution || ..............................................
✧❅✦ DETAILED REVIEW ✦❅✧
❤ Lesson From This Drama: Celebrate the Extra-Ordinary in all of us! ❤
--------------------------------------------------------- ✧✦ What Works ✦✧ ----------------------------------------------------------
✦ The Concept:
Refreshing story of how a genius young woman suffering from Autism deals with her work, friends, work and other social interaction. We get to see from her lenses - the good, bad and the in-between we deal with in society. Somethings that might just seem natural to us in our every-day life, might be a task for people suffering from ASD. While the cases and characters propel how our main lead actress navigates through it all, my takeaway from it is that we need to more observant, understanding, sympathetic to people and our surroundings, cause not everyone is same, we are all different and that is okay and something to be celebrate!
✦ The Acting:
While our main lead actress is phenomenon and it is what draws audience to start watching this drama, stay and fall in love with her - it is also the other characters around her. How they in their respective roles are either supportive, begin to understand her, or are completely against her. Which is a good and solid representation in real life - some will hate thee, some will love thee. Right from characters shown in the positive or negative role - I believe if a character makes you love them or hate them, that is a job and portrayal well done. So kudos to the entire star cast, minus the glitch in certain character development, with the limelight on this show, everyone stayed true to their acting!
✦ The Cases (some of them - at the start)
This is not a courtroom drama, but more of how it is approached by a person suffering from ASD. What maybe missed by the ordinary attorneys is captured beautifully by our Extraordinary Attorney Woo. The cases in the first half are somewhat thought-provoking, nothing that that will give you sleepless nights or keep you guessing till the end, but more on the lines of breaking it to the audience that society evils persist and sometimes our perception creates or manifests evil or wrong. But seen from the lens of the innocent (like Attorney Woo) you can see past the pre-conceived notions/prejudice and see a person or situation for what it really is and make a judgement or form opinions accordingly.
This was a double-edged sword - some cases worked while some did not. But in all cased - we see our lead making some good/bad and confusing decisions in her own battle to love the law and abide by it.
-------------------------------------------------- ✧✦ What Could Be Better ✦✧ ---------------------------------------------------
✦ The love-story (or stories)
Now in a great romance - you have a build-up, the cute moments, a tragedy or hurdle that tests them and then happily-ever-after, right?
I personally fawned, curled my toes in the romantic scenes, cause it was cute, mushy and our lead pair were devastatingly good looking and convincing. But I was saddened by how the writers wrote their hurdles and ending phrase. The relationship graph went super high only to nose-dive in the end. Though some would like it and appreciate how it was tied up, but I would have preferred more explanation or some romantic/dramatic declaration of love - because we are focusing on a character who is socially meek, so more words were needed to explain those emotions.
Another weak area - the love stories of the side-characters was just done for namesake, only cause they are on screen so let's show a backstory or put 1+1 characters just cause side characters also need some love - did not work for me, sadly. Had they omitted the love angle and shown it more as a supportive friendship or hinted at a camaraderie, would make more sense.
✦ The Negative Characters' Development
Everyone loves a good villain - you may love, admire or hate them but you just cannot ignore them.
In Woo Young Woo's life too, we see such characters pop-in but with not much preamble as to why the dislike our main lead, what is their backstory and main motive to cause disruption. It is all too mellow and not sharp, vengeful or even justified. They are just there - and you would expect that the next episode would drop some insight, but are just left waiting. Talent, in this case, got wasted as well as the story arch.
--------------------------------------------------------- ✧✦ Summary ✦✧ --------------------------------------------------------
It definitely is a tale that is worth-a-watch only for the portrayal of ASD, some great acting and beautiful soundtrack.
But like me, many could be saddened at how it all tied up in the end. Because the drama was so highly anticipated and the first half really sets the bar high, to have such a mellow ending was not expected.
Usually I give a drama a rating of 10, deducting 0.5 or 1 as story progresses and characters develop. Therefore, I gave this drama a 9 at the start only to bring it down to 8 now, which can possibly share some perspective to whoever is reading this.
It is a cinematic treat - the acting, scenes and music make it easy on the eyes and ears and the story is a heartwarming tale that is worth taking a note of, at least once.
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|Episode 9 feedback by IM YourOnlyOne
|Autistics On 《Extraordinary Attorney Woo》 by IM YourOnlyOne
|Will there be a satisfying ending? by Hala
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|Episode 15 feedback from an autistic + relationship commentary by IM YourOnlyOne
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