JTBC’s Law School has finally closed its last case with the finale showing the main culprit of the story’s major plot being indicted and imprisoned, affirming the impartial powers of the law and the distributive, procedural, retributive, and restorative scales of justice. Delving into the legal system and court proceedings in South Korea, this drama was able to show that injustices existing in third world countries also happen in a country deemed to be rich and powerful albeit in different dynamics.
However, as an avid fan of crime and suspense, legal, and murder dramas, Law School was an ‘ok’ series. It didn’t reach the heights I expected it would be. As I have stated in my First Impression of this drama, I expected it to be at par with Shondaland’s “How To Get Away With Murder’ since these two, regardless of the difference in geo-political settings have similar subject and premise as well as thematic pursuits. But, as the show ended in a 16 episode series, it was insufficient to provide me that punch and kick and the amount of suspense as well as the twists and turns of HTGAWM.
1. The details in handling the cases
When the drama started, there were scenes where the show dissected certain cases inside their classrooms like any law school would do. I was all for it. I was expecting such an element in a drama that delves into the intricacies of law and how justice must proceed. Such scenes provide viewers background and depth into the case at hand. Although this element of the drama was transferred into the legal clinic of the school where the students/characters study the cases, however, the amount of time given to spend on these cases weren’t as detailed as what I have seen in HTGAWM. On a better side, I fully appreciated the mock trials as one of the main functions provided by the Legal Clinic.
2. The All-Knowing Yangcrates vs the Imperfect Annalise Keating
One of the standout characters in the series is the Criminal Law Professor Yang Joon-Hoon. He is the male counterpart of Professor Annalise Keating. The professor who holds students together- the main mentor into the intricacies of the law. Like Annalise Keating, he was also accused of murder and for the good part of the series, it spent a good amount of time proving his innocence.
But what made these characters so different and why I prefer Annalise over Yangcrates was the fact that Annalise was more human in a sense that she has more frailties than Joon-Hoon. In the series, Joon-Hoon was this all-knowing and impeccable law professor. It’s as if he literally knows every possible event that could take place one event after the other making him thwart the possible actions of the villains. The unlikeliness of his character as this omnipotent one was what put me off a little bit. Sure, it was amazing to witness a character with his caliber, however, it could be more interesting if he has more complexities aside from being all smarts. I am not discrediting the fact that it was mostly through his smarts that they were able to apprehend and imprison the Assemblyman, however, it would have been more interesting if they were still able to punish the Assemblyman regardless of human imperfections and frailties.
Annalise Keating whilst a very powerful and intense lawyer has many imperfections and frailties. Her possession of such imperfections made her all the more human; making her character more interesting to watch. As an audience, I always go for dynamic characters; whilst round ones provide interesting elements, it is through dynamic characters that we get to see better unfolding of the narrative when a certain character evolves as the story unfolds.
3. The Gullibility of the main villain
One of the things that did not sell really well with me was how gullible the main villain was. He was pictured as this manipulative and corrupt Assemblyman who runs a fake new mine. Yet, for some reason, he was manipulated time and time again especially with the schemes of Professor Kim Eun-suk. For someone who is manipulative and evil as he is, he wasn’t able to see through her. He kept accepting her suggestions which turned out to be completely against him. Albeit, that could have been the thing the drama is going for- A manipulative and corrupt official falls from being deceived and manipulated. The literary irony is commendable. However, the way I see it, it was like an easy way out for the series to wrap-up the show- by catching the culprit in his own game.
On the other hand, there were good things that the drama was able to pull-off. One of which is how the series upholds law and justice. Professor Yang Joon-Hoon and his students represented the types of justice- distributive (determining who gets what), procedural (determining how fairly people are treated), retributive (based on punishment for wrong-doing) and restorative (which tries to restore relationships to “rightness.”). We have seen how Joon-Hoon with the help of his students put to justice the villains of society.
Furthermore, the drama was able to stand-up with the idea that irregardless of the imperfectness of the law, justice is possible. The last words of Professor Joon-Hoon basically sums-up this idea when he said, “The law is imperfect justice. But when you teach law, it must be perfect. And when you study law, it must be synonymous with justice; because unjust law is the most cruel violence.” In general, Law School was not a bad drama. It just wasn’t able to be on the same level of power as my favorite HTGAWM. It is still worth watching especially if you are into legal jargons and court proceedings.
What about you? What do you think? Do we have the same thoughts on the drama? Let us know in the comment section below.