Review: Law School 2021 TV Series
Opening Shot: We see a group of complex puzzles with tiny pieces, and a voice over talking about “Truth And Justice Only By Law.”
The Gist: Students at the Hankuk University Law School are conducting a mock trial. Things are a bit rocky when the professor who is running the trial, Seo Byung-ju (Ahn Nae-sang) — who also made a large contribution to the school to create the mock trial program — decides to take a break. When he’s late coming back from the break, one of the students goes to his office and finds Seo dead.
While police are taking evidence, a prosecutor named Yang Joon-hoon (Kim Myung-min) enters and surveys the scene, making observations about things poured down the drain and thrown in the trash. There’s a suicide note, but he doesn’t think it’s suicide. Yang is actually a former prosecutor, who became a professor at the school after the trauma of having to try Seo, the lead prosecutor and his boss, in a bribery case. We flash back a few months to see Seo coming back to Yang’s class after making his donation and telling him he should come back to try cases.
We also see that Yang is very tough on his students, like when he makes Kang Sol A (Ryu Hye-young), a student who came to the school via a special scholarship for disadvantaged applicants, run out of the room wanting to vomit. He remembers her interview — she applied to the school so the law can “apologize” to her for making her settle a case where she felt she was innocent — and tells her that she needs to shape up.
In the meantime, another professor, Kim Eun-sook (Lee Jung-eun), is dealing with the release of Le Man-ho (Jo Jae-ryong) a rapist whom she was compelled to give a light sentence when she was a judge 11 years prior. That case was what led her to leave the bench and teach civil law at the school, using a lighthearted method that was way different than the Socratic method Yang uses. After Seo’s murder, she’s thinking about her baby, which was put in danger seven months prior when Le came into her class and traumatized both her and her students. The efforts of Yoo Seung-jae (Hyun Woo), a former medical student in her class, helps save her and the baby.
The class, reconvening for the mock trial with Yang taking over, learns that meth was found in Seo’s system, along with sugar, suggesting that he was overdosed on purpose. Who they arrest for his murder, however, will shock everybody.
Our Take: Despite the fact that Law School’s first episode is muddied by a jumpy timeline and far too many characters to get to know, there is a story there that has potential to be engrossing, if the show’s writers and producers can focus just a bit.
Really, there are two main storylines: Yang trying to beat the murder charge in Seo’s death and Kim dealing with Le’s release. Yes, there will be backstories about the students, especially Kang Sol A and Han Joon-hwi (Kim Bum), a top student who has a connection to Seo. But most of what we’ll see will be the students trying to figure out of Yang really killed Seo or if someone else did, and why. And that’s where this show will shine.
We really enjoyed Kim Myung-min’s lead performance as Yang and was a little disappointed that his character was arrested at the end of the first episode. But we are looking forward to seeing how he fares in jail and if he really was the person who killed Seo. We’re not 100% sure why he was even allowed to enter the crime scene, given that his relationship with Seo would have made him an immediate person of interest.
Maybe that will be addressed later on, but the implausible circumstance was a good way to introduce us to Yang, as was him scaring the vomit out of Kang Sol A in class. The show will need that powerful performance in order to keep its energy going.