As Manila awaits Park Eun Bin, here’s our checklist for Extraordinary Attorney Woo Season 2

What’s yours? Netizens continue the buzz about this top rater and much loved drama

Park Eun Bin, Kang Tae Oh and strong cast of ‘Extraordinary Attorney Woo’ during wrap-up (From IG Extraordinaryattorneywoo.kd)

AS netizens continue to follow every bit of news about Extraordinary Attorney Woo (EAW) more than a month after its last episode aired August 18, they have also marked October 23 on their calendars, when Park Eun Bin begins the first leg of her Asian tour in Manila with a live fan meet at 6 pm at the Skydome of SM City North EDSA. Tickets are sold online from October 1 to 12.

Meanwhile, Kang Tae Oh, who played Lee Jun Ho, reported for military duty on September 20 at the 37th division recruit training center in the Jeungpyeong County of North Chungcheong Province. He is expected to be discharged on March 19, 2024.

Park Eun Bin (Photo from IG extraordinaryattorneywoo.kd)

The continuing engagement of netizens with EAW and its lead couple, the brilliant and endearing Park Eun Bin and the tall and muy simpatico Kang Tae Oh, owes as much to their chemistry as well as the way the drama’s writer and director told the saga of the autistic lawyer, and gave it a satisfying ending.

The 16-episode EAW is an uplifting and healing story about a 27-year-old genius (IQ 164) with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who, despite graduating summa cum laude from Korea’s top law school, could not land a job until Hanbada Law, the second largest and most prestigious law firm in Seoul, hires her as a rookie.

From the beginning, the odds were heavily stacked against Woo Young Woo. Raised by a single father who opted not to take the bar exam and forego a law career to raise her, she did not talk until she was five years old, a barrage of words spilling out of her mouth when their landlord assaulted her father. That instance, she quoted every pertinent point of law. Dumbstruck, her dad Woo Gwang Ho took her back inside the house, where the camera panned to his thick law books and lingered on WYW jumping up and down on a tiny trampoline. After his euphoria died down, he took her to a doctor who said that signs point to Woo Young Woo having ASD.

The CEO of the Hanbada Law firm is Han Seong Young, junior to Young Woo’s father in law school. She passes on Young Woo’s resume (with a handwritten “Take care of her” note in the margin) to senior lawyer Atty. Jung Myeong Seok, then in charge of hiring the firm’s interns.

On the morning of her interview, Woo Young punches the whale head on the alarm clock by her bedside. Her room is full of thingamajigs of whales of all types.

She is obsessed with one of the most intelligent mammals on earth.

She puts on her corporate outfit, a gift from Dad, who had removed all traces of a label. This is her standard work wear henceforth: long sleeved jacket, shirt underneath, pleated skirt falling below the knees, and stacked heels (in either black or brown). Completing the ensemble is a medium-size mailman’s satchel; her wardrobe is mostly monochromatic.

Woo Young hop skips downstairs for breakfast in her father’s modest restaurant. She sits down to Woo Young Woo’s gimbap—15 slices of it precisely laid out. She picks them up one by one vertically and eats until the plate is clean, lays a paper napkin on it, over which she neatly arranges her chopsticks.

Then her father starts the drill: the subway stations on the train before she alights nearest the Hanbada Law building; the number of steps from the station to the Hanbada offices; and the total number of minutes the trip should take.

AStory spent some 20 billion won on cinematography, props, and styling, a huge part of it eaten up by those CGIs

A worried look on his face, Dad gives his final advice: “Don’t say anything weird. Don’t be too blunt. No echolalia (repeating or echoing of words or sounds that you hear someone else say). No talk about whales while at work.”

In the crowded subway, WYW sits wearing a cordless, noise-cancelling headset and listens to recordings of her favorite whale sounds. As the train speeds up, there across the screen, visible from the glass windows, a leviathan swims languidly; Young Woo’s eyes light up. That whale is the first of several CGIs (computer-generated images) that appear onscreen. AStory, producers of EAW that aired on previously unknown ENA cable channel, spent some 20 billion won on cinematography, props, and styling alone, a huge part of that budget eaten up by those CGIs.

Upon arriving, Young Woo faces the most daunting part of entering the Hanbada world—the revolving door. Others pass her by, no one bothering to assist her until…enter Lee Jun Ho of the litigation group, Mr. Congeniality of Hanbada. “It is just like stepping to the beat of a waltz.”  He demonstrates: “Gum cha cha… Gum cha cha.” Once inside, he then directs her to the office of Atty. Jung.

In the same room, Choi Soo Yeon and Kwon Min Ho—the other rookie applicants—look on perplexed as Young Woo introduces herself thus: “My name is Woo Young Woo. Kayak, deed, rotator, noon, racecar, Woo Young Woo. Even if you flip it, it is Woo Young Woo.”

Atty. Jung is flabbergasted. He goes to CEO Han and says he can’t hire someone who doesn’t speak well and says weird things. The CEO tells him: “Were you very articulate when you first came to Hanbada?” She then allows Atty. Jung to decide later whether to make Young Woo a regular lawyer of the firm or not. But CEO Han has an enigmatic smile. Clearly she has an agenda that will be revealed as the drama unfolds.

The way writer Moon Ji Won portrayed the saga of WYW worked in the drama’s favor. While the drama presents one case per episode or stretches a more important case over two episodes, viewers get a ringside view into the world of Hanbada and its clients. We also witness first-hand the growth of our genius lawyer, both as a professional as well as a neuro-diverse individual in a world of so-called normal people.

Yoo In Sik, the director of Extraordinary Attorney Woo (EAW), deftly orchestrates an ensemble of supporting actors who contribute stellar performances, wit, and humor, ultimately providing context to the saga of WYW.

Balance is the key to the success of EAW, which began with a viewership rating of 0.9 percent for episode one to a record 17.5 percent for episode 16. Before the drama ended, there was already a very strong clamor for a season 2.

Kang Tae Oh in a shoot (Photo from IG extraordinaryattorneywoo.kd)

AStory later confirmed that it is in the works for streaming in late 2024 so as to reconcile schedules of cast and crew (90 percent or more to be retained) and await the end of Kang Tae Oh’s tour of duty as an active soldier.

The first and last case WYW handles illustrate the expert balancing act of writer and director.

In her first appearance, WYW tells the court that she has ASD before presenting the case of a senior woman accused of the attempted murder of her husband using a heavy iron. Turns out the defendant is the wife of the landlord who beat her father in front of the then five year old WYW. With a well-researched brief, brilliant analysis of the facts, and meticulous fact-finding by the litigation team, WYW wins her first case. The old woman is found not guilty and gets only a short probation.

A nice touch to the case is Jun Ho’s observation that the iron is shaped like a sperm whale. WYW gets a goreka—the whale at the moment of enlightenment—moment that sends her brilliant and focused mind spinning.

The last case (spread over episodes 15 and 16) wraps up most, if not all, of EAW’s conflicts. WYW’s birth secret has been floated as early as episode 2. It is the ticking time bomb that CEO Han had been waiting to explode, the reason she hired WYW. This she had planned on throwing at her arch rival Tae Soo Mi, CEO of Taesan and WYW’s birth mother, who at the time was awaiting confirmation as minister of justice.

In the case of the cybersecurity breach, Hanbada’s client Raon is being slapped a humongous fine that would bankrupt the firm and lead to imprisonment of its head honcho. Raon’s system was hacked, compromising the personal data of all members of its shopping mall platform.

As Hanbada and Taesan, defending the side of consumers, battle it out in court, CEO Han has laid the groundwork to expose WYW’s birth secret to the media. She asks WYW’s father to take the latter on an all-expense paid leave out of town to shield her from the ensuing scandal.

We learn that the calculating CEO Han tried to use WYW’s birth secret to her advantage twice. On the other hand, ambitious and ruthless Taesan CEO Tae Soo Mi had also tried to get through to Young Woo’s father to keep that secret—a rumor that never really died—locked away forever.

‘Why should I disappear from town?’ says Atty. Woo. ‘My mother has never been a part of my life’

Tae Soo Mi offers a more attractive proposition—recruitment of WYW to Taesan’s Boston office with considerably higher salary, her own apartment, and care under ASD specialists and therapists. WYW refuses both, telling her father: “Why should I disappear from town? Why should I go to Boston? My mother has never been a part of my life.”

This is a brilliant portrayal of WYW’s growth and illustrates how she has gained her own agency over her career and her person. As she says after meeting her mother in the last episode and convincing the latter to allow her son to testify in the case: “I am like a narwhal that swims around the vast ocean among pods of beluga whales. The life of a narwhal is not at all lonely, and it is okay because this is my life. This life may be unusual and peculiar, but it is also meaningful and beautiful.”

Now, the bombshell that makes Tae Soo Mi surrender her over-arching ambition: the hacker is none other than her teenaged son Choi Sang Hyeon, Cybersecurity Competition grand prize winner, Korean champion of the 4 x 4 x 4 Rubik’s cube finals.

The sheer drama of WYW questioning her half-brother as a witness (he had sought her out and videotaped his confession), with her birth mother watching intently from the audience’s side, is one of the best scenes of EAW. 

Excellent as Extraordinary Attorney Woo is overall, the drama nonetheless left some gaping holes and questions from viewers. A season 2, therefore, should be a good opportunity to address these concerns.

Here then is our checklist for a season 2 of EAW: 

Clinking Beer Mugs on Google Noto Color Emoji 15.0We hope to see Lee Jun Ho finally sitting for a round of soju with Woo Young Woo’s father Guang Ho Woo so he will see how much this earnest young man loves his daughter unconditionally.

Spouting Whale on Google Noto Color Emoji 15.0We need more scenes of Jun Ho expressing his own reactions to Woo Young Woo’s abrupt decisions when she feels she is becoming a burden to him and asks to break up.

Spouting Whale on Google Noto Color Emoji 15.0We hope that Woo Young Woo gains more confidence in her interactions with Lee Jun Ho, secure in the knowledge that she does not make him lonely.

We need more details about Jun Ho’s background

We need more details about Jun Ho’s background so we can understand why his older sister was against his relationship with Woo Young Woo.

We hope to see WYW sharing a meal with her gimbap-loving half-brother Choi Sang Hyeon, a cyber genius and champion Rubik’s cube player who was revealed as the hacker—such a brilliant stroke in revealing the usual K-Drama trope of a birth secret.  It would also be great to see him helping his unni solve some cases in season 2.

We hope to know the backstory behind the bitter rivalry of Han Seon Young and Tae Soo Mi, and how Woo Young Woo’s father figures in this.

We’d like to see Tae Soo Mi getting to know Woo Young Woo better and sharing screen time with her children, the two geniuses she has given birth to.

How about Atty. Jung setting up his own boutique law firm, reconciling with his estranged wife, and handling more unorthodox cases that would allow more time outdoors and a less stressful workload? And that he takes with him “Wild” Woo Young Woo, “Sweet Spring Sunshine” Choi Soo Yeon, and of course, Lee Jun Ho.

I’d like to see “Tactician” Kwon Min Ho remain at Hanbada and train a new batch of rookies. This, even as his loveline with Choi Soo Yeon develops into a comfortable relationship.

 More scenes of friendship between Woo Young Woo and Dong Geurami, sharing fun times with Hairy Boss in his cafe so we can have more of their cute “Woo to the Young to the Woo, Dong to the Geu to the Rami” routine. Also, additional scenes of the friendship between WYW and Sweet Spring Sunshine.

It was a brave exploration of the world of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

Extraordinary Attorney Woo was a brave exploration of the world of people with ASD. That its writer and director as well as its actors lavished time and effort on research and came up with sensitive portrayals is something we have not seen in a long time. That the production team even hired an expert in ASD to serve as resource person is most laudable.

In the end, EAW writer Moon Ji Won and PD (producing director) Yoo In Sik gave back the love netizens have lavished on the drama.

As we wait for season 2 and the return of our whale couple and their friends, here is a rewind of that scene before Woo Young Woo stepped out of the car for that pivotal meeting with her birth mother Tae Soo Mi.  Jun Ho musters the courage to say to her: “My feelings about you are like the unrequited love towards a cat. Cats sometimes make their owners lonely. But, they make them just as happy, too…So, let’s not break up.”

WYW looks at LJH intently, prepares to go. But, after a nano second, she faces him and says: “The expression cats make their owners lonely is inappropriate because cats love their owners, too. Let us not break up.”

Then we dissolve to the final scene of episode 16. WYW at the revolving door goes “Gum cha cha…Gum cha cha…” skips inside the building, raises her arms, smiles broadly and says: “Self-fulfillment. That is what I feel.” Jun Ho meets her, a toothy smile on his face.

About author


After saying goodbye to daily deadlines in 2009, WINNIE DOROTHEO VELASQUEZ worked from home editing manuscripts and writing on subjects close to her heart. She discovered the world of K-Drama in the early 2000s. Today, she cooks, does some gardening, and is training Cookie, da mutt-with-the-mostest.

Sign up for our Newsletter

Sign up for Diarist.ph’s Weekly Digest and get the best of Diarist.ph, tailored for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *