#KajoPicks: 10 South Korean legal dramas you must watch
If you enjoy a few doses of courtroom dramas, here are 10 Korean legal series for you to check out:
1.While You Were Sleeping (2017)
This South Korean legal drama has a dose of fantasy in it.
Hong-joo (Bae Suzy) lives with her single mother and helps her run a pork restaurant.
She looks like any other woman of her age working as a reporter, but Hong-Joo is haunted by seeing the future deaths of others in her dreams.
However, she does not know when the deaths will happen. She tries to stop her dreams from becoming reality.
Things took a different turn when Hong-joo dreams about the death of her own mother. Can she prevent it from happening?
Meanwhile, Jae-chan (Lee Jong-suk) is a rookie prosecutor. Jae-chan and his younger brother move to new house and they become neighbours with Hong-joo.
One thing leads to another, Jae-chan and police officer Han Woo-tak (Jung Hae-in) together with Hong-joo all have the ability to see the future through their dreams.
Putting aside the trio fantasy adventure, the drama also highlights the corruption and office politics which goes behind a prosecution office.
2.I Can Hear Your Voice (2013)
When Jang Hye-sung (Lee Bo-young) was in high school, she testified as a witness and her statement caused the murderer of Park Soo-ha’s father to be convicted and imprisoned.
Ten years later, she becomes an apathetic public defender who does her job only for the salary.
In the meantime, Soo-ha (Lee Jong-suk) gains the supernatural ability to read people’s minds by looking at their eyes after witnessing the murder of his father.
After meeting Hye-sung during the trial of his father’s murder, he develops a crush on her.
However, when he meets her again after ten years, Soo-ha finds her completely different from what he has expected.
Things turn deadly when the murderer is released from jail and now is holding grudges on both Hye-sung and Soo-ha for getting him convicted of murder.
In a previous article, we picked this drama one of our favourite ‘noona’ romance. The chemistry between Lee Jong-suk and Park Bo-young in this drama is undeniably compatible.
Originally set for 16 episodes, due to its successful ratings, the series was extended by two more episodes.
3.The Good Wife (2016)
By the title, you can tell that this is a Korean legal drama based on the famous American series The Good Wife starring Julianna Margulies.
The Korean remake of the drama has only 16 episodes and stars Jeon Do-yeon. The drama marked Do-yeon’s first comeback to the small screen after 11 years.
Her last role on television was in the famous 2005 Lovers In Prague.
Do-yeon’s return as it turned out worth the buzz as her performance as Kim Hye-kyung was impressive.
She plays the role of a housewife who is forced to return to her job as a lawyer after her husband is put behind bars.
There are differences between The Good Wife and its original plot in the American series. For example, the sex scandal scene has been shortened to accommodate the storyline into 16 episodes.
While the American series, Margulies’s character Alicia Florrick, works with her tech-savvy son to discover the truth together, the Korean version, Hye-kyung does not involve her children in the criminal cases.
If you enjoy the drama and scandal in the American The Good Wife, this Korean legal drama is definitely worth watching.
Here is another Korean legal drama based on an American television series.
It follows the story of a distinguished lawyer Choi Kang-seok who recruits a young man Go Yeon-woo. Yeon-woo has a retentive memory but not a law degree.
Kang-seok (Jang Dong-gun) is the equivalent of Harvey Spector in the American version while Yeon-woo (Park Hyung-sik) is the equivalent of Michael Ross.
The Korean equivalent of Jessica Pearson is Kang Ha-yeon (Jin Hee-kyung). Before Megan Markle became the Duchess of Sussex, she was known for her character Rachel Zone in Suits.
Her equivalent character is Kim Ji-na (Ko Sung-hee), a paralegal who is perfect in what she does.
5.Lawless Lawyer (2018)
Who doesn’t love a bad boy lawyer?
Lawless Lawyer (2018) is set in the fictional city of Kisung which is known to be lawless and corrupt.
The plot follows Bong Sang-pil, a former gangster who has a career change to become a lawyer. On top of using his skill and knowledge as a lawyer, he uses his fists and old gang connection to win a case.
Meanwhile, Ha Hae-yi is an idealist lawyer full of integrity but ends up being temporarily disbarred after after attacking a corrupt judge.
The villain of this story is Cha Moon-sook. She appears to be a caring, noble judge but it is all just a facade. Little the public knows, she orders murder to be carried out, conducts rigged trials and run a corrupt charity.
While fighting against Moon-sook, Sang-pil and Hae-yi falls in love with each other.
The drama is a commercial hit and became one of the most highly rated Korean dramas in cable television history.
It stars Lee Joon-gi, Seo Yea-ji, Lee Hye-young and Choi Min-soo.
6.Innocent Defendant (2017)
You are the top prosecutor at your office, then one day you wake up and find yourself on death row. What would you do?
Park Jung-woo (Ji Sung) is a prosecutor of the violent crimes investigative division who never loses a case. One day, he finds himself in a prison without any memory of what happen.
His hope lies in Seo Eun-hye (Kwon Yu-ri), a public defender who always lose her court case every single time.
Uhm Ki-joon plays the antagonist, a psychotic killer who kills his own twin brother.
The drama was a hit, all thanks to its plot and impressive performance by Ji Sung.
7.Ms Hammurabi (2018)
How about a Korean legal drama that was written by a real-life judge?
Ms Hammurabi is written by Moon Yoo-seok, the chief judge of Seoul Eastern District Court who also wrote the book version of this story.
It stars Go Ara, Kim Myung- soo and Sung Dong-il.
The drama circles around the life of judges and the various disputes that they have to settle.
While Moon is known for his novels, Ms. Hammurabi is his first script writing work.
Due to its new perspective on the role of a judge and its real-life depiction of people daily struggles, the series was well-received by Korean viewers.
8.Witch At Court (2017)
Ma Yi-deum (Jung Ryeo-won) is the ace prosecutor who walks a fine line between legal and illegal investigation.
Using personal attacks, evidence fabrication and inciting perjury, she goes all the way to win her case.
In the same time, she is hot-tempered. One day, she is assigned to the special task force for child sex crimes against women and children.
Joining her on the team is Yeo Jin-wook (Yoon Hyun-min), he is a newbie prosecutor who graduated from law school at the top of his class.
He does not like how Yi-deum carries her job. However after he learns about her painful past, Jin-wook comes forward to protect her.
Thanks to the chemistry of the two main leads, Ryeo-won and Hyun-min won the Best Couple Award in the 31st KBS Drama Awards.
9.Suspicious Partner (2017)
The Korean drama industry has a gift of throwing in an almost random serial killer in the middle of a seemingly normal storyline.
Suspicious Partner (2017) follows the story of prosecutor Noh Ji-wook (Ji Chang-wook) and prosecutor trainee Eun Bong-hee (Nam Ji-hyun).
Like most main characters in a K-drama world, Ji-wook has a tragic past in which his parents died in a fire.
Then the tragic past somehow get entangles with his present when he finds out. After love starts to blossom between Ji-wook and Bong-hee, Ji-wook learns that it was Bong-hee’s father who set the fire causing his parents’ death.
When the drama was aired, it was famous among the 20-49 demographic. So if you fall into this age group, you might enjoy this drama.
10.Diary of a Prosecutor (2019)
While Ms Hammurabi is written by a real judge, Diary of Prosecutor is based on the essay written by a real-life prosecutor Kim Woong.
Set in the fictional city of Jinyoung, it explores the competitiveness and over-working lives of prosecutors.
Lee Sung-jae plays the role of Jo Min-ho, the Chief of Jinyoung District Prosecutor’s Office Criminal Unit 2.
Unhappy that his team always comes in second when comes to work performance, he brings in a prosecutor from the city, Seoul with hope that it will raise his team’s results.
The prosecutor from Seoul is Cha Myung-joo (Jung Ryeo-won). Her working style is straight forward without spending any extra time on cases, hence her colleagues think she is to careless in her work.
However, the person that Myung-joo unhappy the most in the group is Lee Sun-kyun (Lee Sun-woong).
He was Myung-joo’s senior back in university but entered the prosecution one year later than her. The duo often fight in disagreement when comes to work.
The actual filming scene of the drama took place in a small city of Tongyeong with a population of 139, 869.
There, more than 150 members of the cast and crew actually stay during the five months of filming.