REVIEW: ‘Extraordinary Attorney Woo,’ Season 1 Delivers A Memorable Journey

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Extraordinary Attorney Woo - But Why Tho

Content Warning: Extraordinary Attorney Woo Season 1 contains scenes that depict suicide.

Extraordinary Attorney Woo Season 1 is a South Korean legal drama series streaming on Netflix. Woo Young Woo has just passed her bar exam and has become Korea’s first lawyer that is on the autistic spectrum. Finding herself as the newest attorney at the prestigious Hanbada legal office, Young Woo must learn to adapt to a world that isn’t always able, or willing, to accommodate her.

Tackling characters with disabilities in fiction faces a broad range of challenges. From the proper presentation of the disability itself to the way the world responds to it, there are plenty of ways a series can fail to do a character that possesses such an attribute justice. While I don’t have the knowledge to assess how Extraordinary Attorney Woo Season 1 delivers on its portrayal of living on the autistic spectrum, I can’t help loving how the show frames its lead character and how their world is depicted around them.

The first thing about this series that I love is that it isn’t a show about being autistic. Every story doesn’t focus on Young Woo’s disability, reducing the character to simply being a vehicle to analyze what autism is. Rather, the series is a law show that happens to have an autistic lead. Now obviously, Young Woo’s autism impacts how she pursues her goals and colors most of her interactions with those around her, but it never is solely focused on that. This makes the series look at its lead character’s life feel more complete and well-rounded. Because while her personal life experiences are constantly impacted by her autism, the larger world is not.

How the larger world interacts with Young Woo is the best part of how the series approaches its story. The reactions to the peculiarities of her interactions with others range the full gamut of what one would expect to see. Some people show patience, while others are endlessly frustrated by her. But most people fall somewhere in between. The show delivers a lot of nuances as it looks not just at how people interact with Young Woo but also at why they interact with her in the ways they do. This gives the show a chance to explore the complex realities of how the show’s many interactions can impact different people differently.

While the interpersonal dynamics of Extraordinary Attorney Woo Season 1 are handled wonderfully, the legal side of the series often proves to be just as fascinating. The variety and nature of the cases that the Hanbada legal team takes on keep the episode-to-episode narrative intriguing and entertaining.  It also takes time during these stories to delve into the place lawyers have in the legal system and asks questions about what a lawyer’s job is and to whom they ultimately are responsible.

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In the background of Extraordinary Attorney Woo Season 1 more prominent focuses on law and personality, there is a larger plot that deals with Young Woo’s past. While this narrative does ultimately come to impact the series’ final episodes, it largely feels unnecessary. The twists and turns of this subplot feel out of place within the series. Never adding anything meaningful to any of the core elements of the show, it feels like an infusion of drama largely for drama’s sake.

Extraordinary Attorney Woo Season 1 is a wonderful, heartfelt, and intriguing journey with its charming lead. It does an excellent job exploring both its characters as well as its legal narrative, giving the audience a plethora of reasons to keep tuning in.

Extraordinary Attorney Woo Season 1 is streaming now, exclusively on Netflix in the US.


Extraordinary Attorney Woo Season 1
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Extraordinary Attorney Woo Season 1 is a wonderful, heartfelt, and intriguing journey with its charming lead. It does an excellent job exploring both its characters as well as its legal narrative, giving the audience a plethora of reasons to keep tuning in.

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