LAW & ORDER
On Christmas morning, the body of a young, male student, Lee So Woo (Seo Young Joo), is found on the campus of an elite high school. Although the police rule his death as a suicide, an anonymous note circulates around the school which insinuates that his death was actually a murder committed by the class bully, Choi Woo Hyuk (Baek Chul Min).
Go Seo Yun (Kim Hyun Soo), Class 2-1’s class president and ace student, becomes determined to take matters into her own hands by conducting an independent trial amongst the students in order to get at the truth.
Based on a Japanese film, the story feels quite familiar and timely. It’s a story about youth and their roles as part of a larger adult society. The catalyst that propels Seo Yun into action is about whether they should expect the adults to protect them or if they can wield their own power to bring about change. Although it’s not a completely foreign aspect of teenage life in Western cultures, I think that it does hold far greater significance in Easter cultures as age plays an important part in how one is expected to behave in society. This is especially seen in different ways in which Teacher Kim (Shin Eun Jung) treats her students compared to the other teachers. Also, it’s worth paying attention to the way Detective Go Sang Joong (Ahn Nae Sang) respects the decisions his daughter, Seo Yun, makes as opposed to the other parents in the drama. However, I will say that there’s an interesting fine line that Han Kyung Moon (Jo Jae Hyun) walks in his relationship with his son, Han Ji Hoon (Jang Dong Yoon).
The biggest draw of this drama is the young talented cast. Based solely on her character outline, Go Seo Yun seemed like the average K-Drama main character for a high school drama. She studious and popular. However, Kim Hyun Soo is able to charm us with her drive and determination to do the right thing. As average as her character is, her empathetic response to the tragedy is what aligns with the viewers who are watching the drama and she has talent to draw us in.
Some of the other talent worth paying attention to in this drama are Jang Dong Yoon as the stoic but restrained Han Ji Hoon. On the surface, there are a lot of similarities between him and Seo Yun but as we get to learn more and more about his character we see how Jang Dong Yoon juggles the two sides of his role. In the same vein, I found Seo Ji Hoon’s role as Bae Joon Young convincing as well, especially as we began to learn more about his character’s backstory.
As argumentative and even unlikable as Lee Joo Ri’s character is, I think Shin Se Hwi took the weight of the role incredibly well. On the one hand, she’s a character who has been bullied but on the other hand, she plays the victim in a very manipulative way. As the viewer, it’s incredibly hard to be on her side but I couldn’t help but be captivated by her best friend, Park Cho Rong’s (Seo Shin Ae) unwavering faith in her even though Joo Ri’s behavior puts Cho Rong at risk. Despite their character’s faults, there’s an interesting debate that the drama brings up about the pressures of high school life and mental health.
All in all, I think the drama encourages positive conversations about the expectations of the roles teenagers and adults play in each other’s lives. Despite the characters’ faults, the drama does an excellent job in laying out why they’ve become the person that they are because even antagonists have reasons for why they do what they do even if it is misguided. If this young cast is any indication of the future of K-Dramas, then we’re in good shape.