Lawless Attorney (also known as Lawless Lawyer) lives up to its name as a fast-paced legal thriller, and takes its place as one of multiple law-centric Korean dramas (such as Suits, Switch, and Investigation Couple) to air in 2018 so far.
The drama also marks the greatly-anticipated return of Lee Joon Gi (Moon Lovers, Iljimae), this being the second time he's worked with director Kim Jin Min (The Liar and His Lover) who he previously collaborated with in noir drama Time Between Dog and Wolf. Additionally, Lawless Attorney is his first romance project since the historical tearjerker that was Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo — the drama that swayed me to become a fan of his.
Having personally been left disappointed by his previous project Criminal Minds, I was thrilled to hear that Lee Joon Gi had taken on the main role here. I'm a sucker for a well-written combination of action/crime/romance, and the teasers (showcasing the promising chemistry between our leads) only did more to amplify my anticipation for Lawless Attorney.
I'm one to avoid setting my standards too high when it comes to watching dramas as they air, but thus far, I've been left thoroughly impressed. This is a drama that really keeps you on the edge of your seat!
So, without further ado, here's the rundown of why you should consider watching Lawless Attorney if you aren't already!
Our leading man, Bong Sang Pil (Lee Joon Gi), is a gangster-turned-lawyer who fights corruption with both the law and his own fists. His main goal? To exact revenge for his mother's unlawful death which took place 18 years prior to the drama's timeline.
To do this, he returns to his hometown of Gisung to set up a law firm, which leads to him recruiting our female lead, principled lawyer Ha Jae Yi (Seo Ye Ji), after she receives a suspension for striking a judge in court.
The "corruption" Sang Pil and Jae Yi face comes in the form of respected senior judge Cha Moon Sook (Lee Hye Young) who exploits her status and authority to manipulate the court in her favor.
Immoral gangster-turned-businessman Ahn Oh Joo (Choi Min Soo) is our other main antagonist who uses his riches and hunger for power to cover up his dirty past.
The events surrounding the death of Sang Pil's mother connect all of our main cast together and take both Sang Pil and Jae Yi on a shared journey to oppose crime and uncover the truth behind what really happened in Gisung 18 years ago.
REASONS TO WATCH
This drama seriously packs a punch (or if we're being particular, many punches — the premiere alone offers multiple to boot) and doesn't waste time in launching you right into the gritty details. A common issue with K-dramas is that they struggle with pacing and tend to dither for a while before providing you with key details, but the lack of filler scenes are a huge bonus in this drama so far.
Right off the bat, we're already spared the wait and presented with the backstory that shapes our Lawless Attorney's character and made him into who he is today. Of course, the more precise details are spared to avoid giving too much away at once, because what would be the fun in that? Each and every reveal leaves you wanting to know more as you uncover more layers of the plot.
From gripping, suspense-filled flashbacks and stylishly slick fighting sequences to sleekly executed car chase scenes, Lawless Attorney spares no expenses in hooking you in and leaving you hankering for more. If you enjoy action and fast pacing, this is the drama for you!
Lawless Attorney really doesn't shy away from packing emotional punches either, hitting you with heartfelt, impactful scenes, parallels, and powerful imagery. Those flashbacks, oh man, those flashbacks... what's a K-drama without tragic flashbacks to punch you right in the gut?
As of episode 6, I'm deeply invested in our main duo (and the endearingly loyal Lawless Law Firm Family as a whole), and the drama does well to make sure you're rooting for our not-so-conventional heroes from the start, allowing you plenty of opportunities to warm to them before the crux of the plot really kicks off.
There's just the right amount of comedy sprinkled into the drama, too— subtle enough to keep you entertained, while not too overbearing so as to detract from the serious tone of the subject matter. The humor in Lawless Attorney is blended in well enough to seem seamless and doesn't feel out of place whenever it's included.
To add, the music also complements the overall mood of the drama very fittingly, whether it's the catchy and groovy opening song or a more heart-rending number for the more soulful scenes— I'm really anticipating further OST releases.
Lawless Attorney boasts an impressive cast and is more than prepared to utilize them to their full potential in exploring characters with depth, compelling backgrounds, and behavior that keeps you thinking and guessing— this is true for both our heroes, villains, and even the side characters.
Near enough every interaction becomes a real delight to watch and is carefully construed— you can tell that each one takes place for a reason, and writer Yoon Hyun Ho is clever in deciding when and what he wants to show (or not show) in the dynamics between the characters.
Lee Joon Gi has more than plenty of charisma at his disposal and he's given every opportunity to showcase it through his role as the gutsy, unpredictable Bong Sang Pil. His prowess as an action star is no joke and provides stunning results in the fight scenes, where he takes on all of his own stunts without the use of a double (in true Lee Joon Gi fashion).
I love the many sides to Sang Pil's character— you get glimpses into his childhood and how he's evolved and grown from these experiences since. He's far from a one-trick pony and I find him to be an enjoyable, refreshing male lead who is full of surprises.
But that's not all— Sang Pil meets his match in partner-in-crime Ha Jae Yi, an equally driven, but cool and collected (contrast to Sang Pil's devil-may-care demeanor) heroine who is more than prepared to take things into her own hands and kick criminal butt with both her words and actions.
I admit that this is the first I've seen of Seo Ye Ji but I was fully aware of the acclaim she received for Save Me, and she embodies the character of Jae Yi perfectly; I couldn't have asked for a more fitting actress to take on the role and she complements Lee Joon Gi spectacularly.
From my first impression and considering the overall premise of the drama, I admit that I wasn't expecting them to put too much emphasis on the romance and that it'd be pretty subtle, but I've been pleasantly surprised at how well the drama has incorporated it.
You can tell that Lee Joon Gi and Seo Ye Ji are both seasoned actors, but even with good actors, natural chemistry is a must to create a convincing on-screen romance. And fortunately for us, Lawless Attorney certainly delivers in that regard!
The chemistry between our leads is spot on— they look great together and every scene they share conveys the intended nature of their interactions perfectly, whether it be Sang Pil and Jae Yi as colleagues, friends or lovers. The romance is very well integrated into the plot, given how neatly their dynamic ties into the story progression, and you can deeply see and feel the emotions conveyed between Sang Pil and Jae Yi.
It's a real delight to watch their relationship develop and I can only look forward to what more Lawless Attorney has in store for these two!
Thank you for reading— I hope you enjoyed my first article!
Feel free to discuss the article and share your own thoughts on Lawless Attorney in the comments.