A long time ago in the period of Joseon, when the concept of a court of law didn’t exist and a district magistrate usually solved disputes between people, some self-claimed attorneys helped people get justice. The system doesn’t have a solid foundation and is corrupted. In “Joseon Lawyer: A Morality,” Kang Han Soo is an attorney who only cares for money but has an upsetting story behind why he became an attorney. On the other hand, the princess of the kingdom, Yeon Ju, has been living disguised as a commoner to understand their problems, and the new attorney in the town intrigues her.
How Does Han Soo Get His First Client?
Kang Han Soo arrives in Hanyang with his friend Dong Chi because Hanyang is full of people needing help, a potentially abundant source of income. Han Soo is sly enough to make a client for himself if he can’t get one. His friend, Dong Chi, spreads the news at Jang’s wine shop that the other wine shop is better. As people flock to Park’s small wine shop, the men at Jang’s shop destroy Park’s shop, and Park runs away to save his life. Han Soo sees everything but doesn’t help Park; he rather sets him up to get caught by Jang’s men. However, So Won, a worker at the merchant house, saves Park by calling the owner of the merchant house and her men. So Won is none other than Princess Yeon Ju, and she is always looking out for people in need. Park asks all the attorneys in the town for help, but none of them want to go against Jang as he is a powerful and rich merchant. Han Soo offers him help rather arrogantly, but Park doesn’t want help from someone like him, whom he can’t trust. He loses hope of starting his business in Hanyang again and decides to leave the town.
Yeon Ju feels upset when she finds out that Park is leaving the town and thinks she should do something to help people like Park. She goes to the palace to meet her brother, King Lee Hyul. Lee Hyul became the king at a young age after the late king passed away all of a sudden, but he doesn’t have any influence over the court officials. Due to his young age and inexperience, they find him unfit for the throne and even defy his orders. Yeon Ju proposes to her brother to make a law that bans monopolies in business, but the court officials don’t even take a look at the proposal the king sends them. Yeon Ju gets disappointed when she hears the news because she can’t stop Park from leaving the town now. However, on the same night, Park’s house catches fire. Park gets tired of the torture and goes to Han Soo to beg him to help him. This was Han Soo’s plan all along, and he finally gets his first client. He promises Park that he will win at any cost.
Jang has already bribed the district magistrate, so he is not worried at all, but Han Soo surprises everyone with his extraordinary knowledge of the law. Moreover, he also stirs up public opinion, and the district magistrate is left with no option but to make Jang pay compensation to Park and allow Park to run his small business again. Both Park and Yeon Ju are surprised to see the sly man actually turn out to be smart. Yeon Ju is specifically impressed because of his knowledge of the law. Her father, the late king, wanted to establish a law-based society, and she is happy to see someone using the law for common people. However, soon enough, she questions her impression of Han Soo when she sees him taking utensils from Park’s house as payment. Park promised to pay him later, but Han Soo didn’t trust him. Yeon Ju can’t handle his behavior anymore and reports him to the government for setting fire to Park’s house. She had seen a burn on his hand and his burned clothes, but kept quiet because he helped Park win. Even Dong Chi had no idea that Han Soo had set Park’s house on fire. The punishment for arson is severe, but Park’s mother asks him to help Han Soo. Just as she tried to hang herself, the house caught on fire, so she ran out to save the remaining food for her family. She didn’t want to become a burden for her son, but Han Soo told her to survive because a child needs a mother no matter how old they grow. Han Soo went through a similar situation when he found his poor mother, who had hung herself in a house that had been set on fire. He seems to have suffered a lot growing up, which made him an erratic person who can do anything for money.
Why Does Cho Betray Jang?
Park’s mother makes the statement that Han Soo accidentally set fire to the house because she startled him, which reduces his punishment. However, as soon as he gets out of prison, Jang’s men attack and kidnap him. Along with him, they also captured Yeon Ju, who was following Han Soo to apologize to him. Jang is determined to get rid of Han Soo, who dared to go against him, but Han Soo has an offer for him. Han Soo knows that Jang is looking for a stolen painting, and that he could lose his contract with the palace if he doesn’t find it. Han Soo knows who has stolen it and offers to get it for him. Jang doesn’t believe him, so Yeon Ju volunteers to let them keep her hostage, much to Han Soo’s dislike. Han Soo has a different motive behind his deal with Jang, and Yeon Ju is an unnecessary variable. He cannot be careless now, as Yeon Ju’s life is on the line. He visits Pyo, the man who stole the painting and is currently in prison on the accusation of human trafficking. Han Soo is going to free him of charges to get the painting in exchange. When Yeon Ju finds it out from Cho, one of Jang’s men, she asks them to let her go so that she can distract him. Cho doesn’t trust Han Soo, so he sends Yeon Ju after him.
Yeon Ju suddenly appears in front of Han Soo and confronts him about rescuing a criminal. She challenges him to a drinking game, and whoever loses has to back out. Both of them pass out after drinking, and as Dong Chi carries him home, Han Soo wakes up from his fake sleep to go to Pyo’s hearing at the magistrate’s office. Yeon Ju fooled Cho so that he wouldn’t become a hindrance to Han Soo. To rescue Pyo, Han Soo asked Jang to give a fake testimony, and Jang agreed to do it even when Cho told him not to trust him. During the hearing, Jang provides an alibi for Pyo, but Pyo says that he was not with Jang. This turns the tables as Pyo claims innocence, saying that Jang must be the real culprit. Jang is flustered by this sudden accusation and asks his assistant, Cho, to confirm his alibi. Cho betrays Jang and tells the magistrate that he just found out that Jang kept about fifteen children kidnapped on his ship. Jang asks for time to prove his innocence and gets sent to prison instead of getting punished right away. Han Soo told Cho to lie so that he could take over Jang’s business.
‘Joseon Lawyer: A Morality’ Episode 2: Ending
Jang used to be a royal guard and still works as an insider among the scholars. He has had a hand in many illegal activities with them. The scholars are threatened that Jang will reveal their secrets, and that’s why commissioner Park kills Jang. Han Soo sees it happen right in front of his eyes as he is inside the prison, disguised as a guard. After Park leaves and when Jang is taking his last breaths, Han Soo reveals his real identity to him. Han Soo is the son of the scholar who was framed for a crime by Jang, Park, and a minister. The incident destroyed his family, and Han Soo is in Hanyang to get revenge. He purposely set Jang up, knowing that once he was in prison, he wouldn’t survive.
“Joseon Lawyer: A Morality” is driven by a rage for revenge. Kang Han Soo’s father used to be a scholar who was abandoned by the royal palace for proposing a system that would harm the king’s throne. It caused his once well-off family to not even be able to afford one meal per day. Han Soo is determined to punish the culprits, only using the law. The law can be complicated; add to that revenge, mystery, and a historical setting. The beginning of the series has been quite intense, but not enough to create anticipation.