Sunday, May 4, 2014

First Impressions:// A New Leaf

A New Leaf 개과천선 poster featuring Chae Jung Ahn 채정안, Kim Myung Min 김명민, Park Min Young 박민영 and Kim Sang Joong 김상중.
MBC's new 18 episode legal drama pairs iceberg super lawyer Kim Suk Joo (Kim Myung Min) with silly yet competent intern Lee Ji Yoon (Park Min Young). And if that isn't enough, the iceberg is going to get amnesia and have to figure out who he is. So this may not be a typical case of the girl having to melt the iceberg, but maybe the girl being melted by the iceberg's true self? We'll have to see.
Bird's eye view of a crowded courtroom.
The first two episodes are all about introductions and setting the scene, but they do it in an entertaining way so that you don't really mind the explanations by way of interviews and informative conversations.
Kim Suk Joo argues in court while elderly victims watch in dismay.
Suk Joo shows himself to be merciless and precise in court as he represents a rich despicable company against the weak and abused citizens. After all, he works for a big prestigious firm that does anything for money.
Kim Myung Min is perfect for the role. He's believable, his voice is to die for, and we know he does iceberg well (Beethoven's Virus, The King of Dramas). I anticipate some comedic moments for him once he loses his memory, which is exciting because we also know that he does emotional comedy well (Bad Family).
Ji Yoon hangs on Suk Joo's neck. / Ji Yoon faces Suk Joo at the law firm.
Suk Joo and Ji Yoon's first encounter is less than dignified; actually it's hilarious. Min Young later learns that she's interning under Suk Joo and that's when things really get interesting.
Park Min Young looking uncertain, chagrined and horrified.
I have missed Park Min Young and am so glad to see her come back in a role that takes her physical comedy to new heights. She has a rare balance of being pretty and cute at the same time, and she also makes you believe in her characters' skill and intelligence. How can that adorable bunny be kick ass and smart? I don't know, but she makes it work.
Suk Joo faces off with prosecutor Lee Sun Hee while Ji Yoon looks on.
As the "idealistic intern" gets to know the "lawyer without a conscience" by watching him work, she feels more affinity with the prosecutor he bumps heads with. It's clear that they will have different approaches that can both potentially garner favorable results, and thus they can learn from each other. What effect the amnesia will have on this dynamic is anyone's guess.
Cha Young Woo toasts to an agreement in a private dining room.
Cha Young Woo (Kim Sang Joong) as the ruthless head of the law firm, makes backroom deals and is as unethical as they come. He seems to have a heart, but that may be only as long as he's getting the results he expects. The firm is being investigated and being backed into a corner could bring out the worst in him.
Jin Yi Han 진이한 as Jun Ji Won, and also as Tal Tal from Empress Ki 기황후 / Kim Suh Hyung 김서형 as Lee Sun Hee, and also as the Empress Dowager from Empress Ki.
It's nice to see two familiar faces fresh from the hit drama, Empress Ki. Jin Yi Han plays Jun Ji Won, a well read man that Ji Yoon's friend tries to pair her up with. Ji Yoon was very interested, but unfortunately got sidetracked and hasn't seen him since the beginning of episode one. Well, he's listed in the main cast, so we're bound to see more of him soon. Like hopefully starting in episode three! Will he get the girl? Will he suffer from SLM syndrome? It'll be interesting how writer Choi Hee Ra spins it. Her two medical dramas got respectable ratings, so I'm expecting a quality story.
Kim Suh Hyung plays prosecutor Lee Sun Hee, and it's unclear how big her role will be, but she's clearly a beacon of justice and a good example for Ji Yoon to aspire to. The rest of the cast is solid and overall a good synergy is created right from the start.
Whether Suk Joo and Ji Yoon couple up or not, they play off of each other superbly. So far I'm hooked and impatient to see more.

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