Based on a webtoon of the same name, Divorce Attorney Shin is Netflix’s newest Korean drama series that brings timely humor to its more serious topics. Directed by Lee Jae-hoon and written by Yoo Young-ah, Shin Seong-han (Cho Seung-woo) is a successful attorney who chooses only to handle divorce cases. His reason: happiness begins at home. With “it’s not a crime to fall in love” as the first opening line to Divorce Attorney Shin, it quickly introduces the audience to the tone so far for Episodes 1 and 2.
Amid a bustling Seoul Administrative Court exterior, we see Shin—a casual strut and tortoiseshell shades in a chocolate brown three-button long-sleeve polo, slim fit, ankle-length taupe pants, and an unbuttoned blazer to match. Black loafers. No socks. With a soft jade leather messenger bag slung cooly from his shoulder, this simple contrast in Shin’s appearance against the standard attire of those in the background tells us Shin isn’t like most attorneys in more ways than one. Regardless of his untraditional appearance and mannerism that make clients question his competence, Shin fights for his clients and confidently wins cases.
In Episode 1, Shin crosses paths with a famous DJ host, Lee Seo-jin (Hye-jin Han), who seeks his help. Given the scandal behind her situation, Shin declines to help her. However, he quickly changes his mind after hearing her goal isn’t to receive divisions of assets but simply to gain custody of her son, Hyeun-u. The slow, firm inquisitive facial change Shin conveys and the questions he asks Lee Seo-jin add detail for viewers to begin piecing together why he only handles divorce cases. What began as a divorce case turns into a domestic one as Shin and viewers start to hear the details of Lee Seo-jin’s life with her husband. The results of the trial are revealed at the start of Episode 2, where Shin reveals a disturbing discovery that helps Lee Seo-jin win custody of her son.
While Shin wins this case, he feels rather sorrowful and pensive, resorting to isolating himself in his home, drinking soju from a wine glass, and listening to trot music (how he deals with stress). Enter his closest friends, Jang Hyeon-geun (Kim Seong-gyoon) and Jo Jeong-sik (Moon-Sun Jung), making a surprise visit sensing his distress. Their impromptu karaoke session offers a humorous relief from the heaviness left by Lee Seo-jin’s case for Shin, which viewers share in as well.
Divorce Attorney Shin Episodes 1 and 2 show people being people in the landscape of life through hardships that are not always discussed or known unless you take the time to ask and dive a little deeper. It tackles controversial topics, like the discourse held between Shin and Lee Seo-jin in their initial meeting—the assumptions and prejudices centered around adultery, especially in Korean culture, and the biases held towards women, shown by Shin’s discomfort when Lee Seo-jin exuded confidence given her scandal. And, notably, how oppression looks when faced with narcissistic abuse by a loved one—a detail expressed well by Hye-jin Han.
The outstanding performance by the main cast and character detail makes for a compelling start to this series. It draws you in and establishes an empathic perspective. Pair this with the right amount of breadcrumbs of information about its characters, it leaves you wanting more for what the rest of the series might hold.
Divorce Attorney Shin Episodes 1 and 2 are now available on Netflix, with new episodes airing on Saturdays and Sundays.
Divorce Attorney Shin Episodes 1 and 2
- Rating - 9/109/10
The outstanding performance by the main cast and character detail makes for a compelling start to this series. It draws you in and establishes an empathic perspective.
Katherine is a writer and occasional Twitch streamer often found sharing her fondness for most things indie and diverse. Covering video games and tv/film she hopes to inspire thoughtful conversation for titles in these mediums.