K-drama: Minority Groups Taking the Spotlight

by Michelle Li

Extraordinary Attorney Woo | 이상한 변호사 우영우 (2022) 

If you kept up with the K-drama, Our Blues (that we talked about here) you would have been introduced to Young-hee in ep. 14, who has down syndrome. Recently, Koreans top kindergarten show Ding Dong Dang, also made a new character Hanuel, who uses a wheelchair, and Mary from a multicultural family. We’re even getting love reality shows that features the LGBTQ communities in Korea, which is a BIG step forward! Why am I talking about all these media that’s allowing more exposure to minority groups and are talked about less than they should? Extraordinary Attorney Woo is one K-drama that is a part of the change to include these minority groups and to even include them as main characters which I think should have happened much earlier. So what makes this k-drama Extraordinary Attorney Woo part of the change?


Meet the titular character, Attorney Woo (Park Eun-bin), or how she prefers to introduce herself “Woo Young-Woo, whether it’s read straight or flipped. Kayak, deed, rotator, noon, racecar.” As you can tell she has an interesting way of introducing herself. Plus, wherever and whenever she can, loves talking about all things whales 🐋 Young-woo is not your ordinary attorney that you see in other k-dramas because she has autism spectrum disorder. But we see very quickly that she actually uses it to the best of her capability, overcoming not only her clients but everyone around her’s initial perception. Her quick wit and high IQ is what helps her exceed, but like many of us there are weaknesses she has too. Her anxiousness around revolving doors, loud noises and inability to walk into a room without counting to 5 secs is a difficulty that many of those with autism could relate to. These small details that the writer includes makes this k-drama open our eyes and captures the essence of those in the minority group. 


But her natural-born brightness is what helps her with all the legal cases too! With each episode is a new legal case that is presented at the Hanbada law firm and addresses real-life issues that many k-dramas are just starting to touch on. And because of this, these cases have definitely been an eye-opener for me as the law firm tackles each case. As each story unfolds, we see how smart, determined, and passionate Young-woo is about her job but also can creatively think out of the box, in ways that her colleagues could never imagine. This allows her to be the best for her clients and of course, get them the winning trial! 


Of course, Extraordinary Attorney Woo wouldn’t be complete without the other characters in the law firm. There’s goofy Jung Myung-seok (Kang Ki-young), the senior attorney and mentor for Attorney Woo plus the rest of the team. At first, he underestimates her ability looking purely at her neurodivergence and overlooking her ability as a lawyer, even when she was the top law student at university. Though, quickly he’s soon impressed by her abilities as a lawyer. Along with Myung-seok, Young-woo has Choi Soo-yeon (Ha Yoon-Kyung) by her side, her college classmate who now works at Hanbada alongside. She’s always been the sweetest to Young-woo, treating her with respect. She’s warm, and kind with a bright personality just like how Young-woo describes her, she is like the ‘spring sunshine.’ And it isn’t a k-drama without a romantic interest right? There have been comments saying that for someone that does have autism, it is a little unrealistic and difficult for this to happen 🥺 But to see Lee Joon-ho (Kang Tae-ho) being so caring and patient towards Young-woo, makes me want to be as kind as he is, and viewing everyone as equals. He’s extremely thoughtful and patient with Young-woo and will stand up for her no matter what. I mean he’s the only one who will intently listen to her talk about whales. 


There are a few people throughout the k-drama that deflects Young-woo’s ability and challenges her along the way but with Myung-seok, Soo-yeon and Joo-ho combined with Young-woo's charming strengths she takes on them as well as workplace challenges and prejudices. And Attorney Young-woo is passionate and hardworking with every legal case she gets handed! Extraordinary Attorney Woo has just finished airing so if you haven’t watched it already, I HIGHLY recommend you to go ahead and binge-watch here

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.