Doctor Lawyer
MBC / Disney+ (2022) 16 Episodes
Medical - Legal - Revenge Melodrama
Grade: A
Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA
(Some Spoilers)

I will watch any Korean drama that sublime actor So Jisub is in -- for he was the very first Korean male actor I became transfixed by when I watched my very first Korean drama in 2006, the 2004 masterpiece I'm Sorry, I Love You. I recall when I first saw his character in that drama I was not impressed with him, since he was a petty thief and was taking advantage of women to make money. However, when his character began to change and mellow later in that first episode, and performed an act of chivalry toward a woman (played by co-star Su Jeong Im from the first Korean film I ever watched, 2003's A Tale Of Two Sisters), I suddenly realized I was watching a brilliant actor unlike any I had ever seen before. I became fascinated by his character in that unforgettable classic Korean drama, and in many ways after I was done with that series my entertainment choices were changed forever. Nothing from Hollywood ever appealed to me again in the same way as before. Korea had it all over America in the entertainment world, in my loving eyes, from that moment on. Other popular dramas I loved him in are Master's Sun, Road Number 1, Glass Slipper, Oh, My Venus, My Secret Terius, We Are Dating Now, and films Be With You, Always, and Sophie's Revenge.

So Jisub and Su Jeong Im,
Who Changed My TV Viewing Forever!

So Jisub has played doctors before, for instance in 2009's drama Cain and Abel, but he has never played a combination doctor-lawyer in one series, as he does in this revenge melodrama. It takes an actor of great experience and expertise to play someone who has worked in both professions! I was in awe of his acting prowess in this series. The only reason I gave this drama an A instead of an A+ was because of some unrealistic plot situations in the script by newbie screenwriter Jang Hong Cheol. In real life there are very strict medical protocols for heart transplants, that were not followed in this series at all. Rather it was the powerful acting of the entire cast that made Doctor Lawyer a standout. I should also add that I was very impressed by all the medical terminology and surgery scenes in this drama: when it was concluded I felt like I could graduate from a medical school! LOL!

So Jisub As Doctor

So Jisub As Lawyer
(He could probably even play an Indian chief, too!) ;)

Then, as an added incentive to watch this revenge melodrama deluxe, we have the addition of the phenomenal actor Shin Sung Rok (My Love From Another Star, Thank You, Liar Game, The King's Face, Trot Lovers, Return, The Last Empress, Vagabond, Kairos) who proved to be the biggest scene stealer in Doctor Lawyer (no surprise to anyone who loves him as much as I do!). Even his first scene in this drama had me giggling, as his facial expressions were just SO typical Shin Sung Rok, in reaction to his character saving a stricken passenger on an airplane, when the silly crew had no idea how to handle the situation (the passenger's pacemaker was malfunctioning). He smoothly stepped in and miraculously saved the day (and the male passenger, too). Seeing this actor again after a two year lapse, due to COVID almost taking his life, was a joy supreme for me. :)

Because of both So Jisub and Shin Sung Rok in the same drama together there was no way I was going to miss this series. Can you say "Dream Team"? ;)

The Story:

Doctor Han Yi Han (So Jisub) is a brilliant cardiologist at the prestigious Banseok Hospital. He is so devoted to his job saving lives that he will often be called in to perform emergency surgeries no matter how many scheduled surgeries he's performed during the same day. Some of the other doctors on staff are jealous of his amazing abilities, such as Gu Hyun Sung (Lee Dong Ha) the son of the hospital administrator Gu Jin Ki (veteran actor Lee Kyung Young, who almost always plays villains, so I kind of knew what I was in for when I saw him show up in the drama!). Administrator Gu Jin Ki is also head of the research foundation at Banseok and always raising large sums of money for it -- watch out! When you think you can buy anyone off you will tend to complicate your life in many corrupt ways, even if it means sacrificing innocent people around you. That's exactly what administrator Gu Jin Ki does. Over and over again, in very surreptitious ways.

Doctor Yi Han is in love with a legal prosecutor named Geum Seok Young (Lim Soo Hyang, good performance in a difficult role). She has a younger brother named Geum Seok Joo (Han Seung Bin) who is a high school student in need of a heart transplant, and waiting patiently for one as he works on his college entrance exams in the hospital. Seok Joo is Seok Young's only family, since their parents died tragically at the same time. She's almost like his mother, and depends on her doctor sweetheart to keep her apprised of his current medical condition.

Then suddenly a good heart becomes available for Seok Joo's transplant, and Yi Han tirelessly performs the surgery, with the other medical staff looking on in amazement; only one doc in the room, Hyun Sung, the jealous son of the administrator, is not thrilled. Why does this bothersome doctor always rain on his parade? When everything is finished to his satisfaction Dr. Yi Han tells Seok Young that everything went well in surgery and that her brother should now live a long and healthy life. She is thrilled and they get together privately to celebrate. (Smooch, smooch!). He presents an engagement ring to her and proposes marriage. She accepts.

However, the devious eyes of the hospital administrator Gu Jin Ki are everywhere, helped along by spying security cameras in every room in the hospital, so he can see what is going on with all his staff. It turns out he badly wanted that healthy heart that was suddenly transplanted into the young Seok Joo, for a special mysterious "VIP" he seems to care about more than anyone else in the hospital, even his own son. This secret VIP resides in the top penthouse of the hospital. Jin Ki privately arranges a surgery after midnight to remove that healthy heart from Seok Joo, give him an alternate unhealthy heart in storage, and take the healthy heart for transplant into his beloved "VIP". Egad! What a monster running this hospital! Of course Dr. Yi Han has no knowledge of this secret operation, for he was wined and dined -- drugged via the wine by administrator Jin Ki -- earlier in the evening, and had passed out in the hospital lounge.

Murderer Hospital Administrator Gu Jin Ki
(Lee Kyung Young)

Not surprisingly, prosecutor Seok Young's younger brother goes into cardiac distress from having two heart transplants in a few hours. She is called to the hospital but her beloved brother passes away. When doctor Yi Han awakens from his drug induced slumber, caused by the hospital administrator spiking his drink, he sees a message about his patient and rushes to his hospital room. Seok Young is grief-stricken. She had been told her brother was out of the woods medically but now he's gone, her only family left. Dr. Yi Han is in shock too. What could possibly have happened? He had performed an excellent transplant surgery. Then he is even more shocked to be arrested and charged with medical manslaughter, and put in jail, and then a doctor who had been present at the original transplant surgery, named Park Ki Tae (Kim Hyung Mook - wow! talk about over-acting! lol!) falsely claims Yi Han messed up that surgery and that's why the patient died. In reality, hospital administrator Gu Jin Ki is nefariously behind it all, paying off everyone involved in order to disable Yi Han's medical career permanently. Yi Han is released from jail once he, under duress, admits to inadvertent medical malpractice during Seok Young's brother's original surgery. (Gu Jin Ki had hired a thug who threatened to kill his mother if he did not implicate himself). Yi Han ends up losing his medical license, and his fiance Seok Young breaks off her engagement to him.

Yi Han goes to law school for four years, passes the bar exam on his first try, and becomes a medical malpractice attorney, determined to get his revenge on hospital administrator Gu Jin Ki and his corrupt Banseok Hospital. Gu Jin Ki behind the scenes has been waiting for a chance to get rid of the former doctor friend of Yi Han, Park Ki Tae, who had testified against Yi Han; he knows too much. Yi Han ends up taking that man's case, helps to find him innocent of medical malpractice on another case, but then Gu Jin Ki ends up murdering Ki Tae anyway, in a supposed "accident".

Yi Han knows he has his work cut out for him to expose Gu Jin Ki's evil nature. His relationship with his former girlfriend is a testy one too, at first. Eventually, though, she becomes convinced that Yi Han is innocent of everything in her late brother's case, and she joins him on his plot to bring justice to Gu Jin Ki and Banseok. When Han Yi receives clients who are convinced this hospital hurt them in some way he is always eager to take these cases, building up a large list of victims, to hit Banseok with as many malpractice cases as possible.

In steps the head of Asia's branch of Honor's Hand, an international company that specializes in investments for worthy hospitals. His name is Jayden Lee (Shin Sung Rok), a third generation Korean-American, who is willing to take big legal risks for financial success for his company. Because of gossip about the hospital's future, with so many malpractice suits against it, Jayden returns to the hospital to try and get his investment money back. Oooh, this won't be tolerated very well by evil administrator Gu Jin Ki and his nasty doctor son!

Hospital administrator's doctor son Gu Hyun Sung (Lee Dong Ha)
looks on suspiciously as now lawyer Yi Han tells Jayden that
Banseok has had ethical problems for a long time

Little by little, as his interactions with lawyer Yi Han and prosecutor Seok Young grow, Jayden ends up being a kind of ally to them at times, to help bring the Banseok top brass down, but for quite awhile we aren't completely sure whether Jayden will be a villain or a hero. Then Jayden requires medical attention; will Banseok take advantage of this to try and get rid of him permanently?

Meanwhile, it is still a big mystery as to who received Seok Young's brother's transplanted heart, that supposed VIP who is sequestered on the guarded, secluded top floor of Banseok Hospital. Will it be revealed that this person agreed ahead of time to take the healthy heart of the other patient by duress, or was this person an innocent victim of the diabolical administrator Gu Jin Ki as well? Through all these trying times, will the former romantic relationship between Yi Han and Seok Young be re-established, or will it sadly be ended permanently? And the biggest question of all: will evil hospital administrator Jin Ki ever receive his comeuppance? And from what likely source? ;)


If you like revenge or medical - legal dramas with lots of off the wall twists and turns, and you love these cast members, then don't miss Doctor Lawyer. Unfortunately you'll probably have to go the bootleg route to watch this one: Disney+ got the rights to it but only for certain countries, and the USA is not one of them (dumb! I cancelled my temporary membership with them). I downloaded high quality AVI files with embedded English subs for the series instead, on a bootleg site that shall be nameless. ;) Good luck, So Jisub and Shin Sung Rok fans. If you can find it, enjoy the ride! :)

My Favorite Actor
You're Not Getting Older:
You're Getting Better!