“One Dollar Lawyer” is a 2022 South Korean legal drama written by Choi Soo Jin and Choi Sang Hwan. This series, about a lawyer who charges only one dollar, is directed by Kim Jae Hyun and Shin Sung Hoon and features Namkoong Min and Kim Ji Eun in leading roles.
Why Is Ji Hoon Helping Myeong Ho?
Lawyer Cheon Ji Hoon has been making his way through the traffic in search of a man and finally finds him attempting to jump off a bridge. The police have been trying to get him down, but Ji Hoon climbs up to him and tells him that he is the lawyer that he has hired. The client is in debt, and his family is suffering because of him. He hired Ji Hoon because he offers legal services for one thousand won.
Ji Hoon helps only those who are needy and believed to be innocent. His friend, Sa Ma Jang, runs a laundromat but also manages Ji Hoon’s office. Ji Hoon takes him to a loan shark’s office to get his client’s money from him, but his office is empty. They order a meal while they wait for the loan shark, but someone else shows up first. Prosecutor Baek Ma Ri has a search and seizure warrant against the loan sharks.
Ma Ri flips Ji Hoon’s bowl of Jjajangmyeon without listening to him first. She apologizes later for mistaking him for the loan shark and proceeds with her work. However, Ji Hoon has a problem. If the loan shark gets arrested, he won’t be able to get his client’s money. When the group of thugs arrive at their office and see the prosecutor, Ji Hoon offers them his legal service, but he tells them the price for the work is high.
Ji Hoon stops Ma Ri from seizing the office because the day has ended, and legally, the warrant has expired. Then, Ji Hoon brings his client to settle his debt, but the loan shark demands way more money from him. Ji Hoon steps in and makes the loan shark pay his fees first and then pays the loan after negotiating the right amount. He gives the rest of the money to his client as well and requests him not to take extreme decisions again.
Ji Hoon has no savings for himself but won’t stop helping others. Ma Jang tells him to stop doing work for petty amounts and brings in a client for him who desperately needs help. Lee Myeong Ho has been accused of a theft attempt, and his wife has asked Ji Hoon for help. Myeong Ho has been convicted for pickpocketing four times before, but this time he was just helping a drunk person gain his balance at a subway station, but no one would believe him.
After meeting Myeong Ho’s sick daughter, Ji Hoon meets Myeong Ho and makes him swear to his daughter that he is innocent. Ji Hoon has promised Myeong Ho’s daughter that he will bring her father back. Myeong Ho wants to be a dad his daughter would be proud of and, hence, has taken up the job as a sailor, but he got arrested before he could start. Baek Ma Ri is in charge of his case and has made him write a letter asking for leniency, but Ji Hoon tears that letter up and pleads with the court for a jury trial.
Ma Ri is junior to Ji Hoon, who has worked as a prosecutor before. Ma Ri thinks he is weird, but he is, in truth, smarter than he looks. While selecting the jury, a lawyer can’t let the other party know the criteria of selection. Ma Ri finds it difficult to ask questions to the juries without letting Ji Hoon know her strategy, while Ji Hoon uses quirky questions that no one but him is able to understand. Ji Hoon tries to prove that the victim made a false accusation because he was drunk by showing a video of him gulping down drinks, while Ma Ri tries to prove that Myeong Ho has always shown tendencies toward stealing by showing his report cards from school.
The juries are divided over Myeong Ho’s innocence, and the result seems to be going against him. However, Ji Hoon has a final surprise. He brings in unapproved evidence, which Ma Ri opposes being presented in court, so Ji Hoon shows her the evidence first to get her approval. Ma Jang had seen the evidence and had been surprised, and Ma Ri had the same reaction when she saw it.
Could Ji Hoon Prove Myeong Ho’s Innocence?
The evidence that Ji Hoon has brought is nothing. Just like he doesn’t have any evidence to prove Myeong Ho’s innocence, Ma Ri doesn’t have any evidence to prove his crime either. Myeong Ho had certain places where he would pick pockets, and a subway station was never one of them. He was known as “Invisible Hands” for his smooth stealing techniques, and he was never caught on the spot. Ma Ri claims that Myeong Ho had used his left hand this time, and hence, he got caught.
Ji Hoon later makes Myeong Ho demonstrate his stealing technique on the victim in court. The victim did not even understand when his wallet was taken by Myeong Ho. It would have been much easier for Myeong Ho to steal the wallet and not get caught when the victim was drunk, and hence, Ji Hoon claims that the victim has accused Myeong Ho due to a misunderstanding. Myeong Ho gets annoyed at everyone for looking at him as a criminal and lashes out. Ji Hoon calms him down and reminds him of his daughter, who is waiting for him.
When it comes to convincing the juries, it is the final chance for both sides to prove their statements. Ma Ri makes the point that Myeong Ho still needs time to become a better person, and because of his repetitive tendencies, he should serve five years in prison. At this moment, Ji Hoon’s experience and expertise show. He tells juries about the principle of law that always benefits the defender. If there is even a slight doubt about the defender’s act, he should be allowed to go because it is better to let loose ten offenders than punish one innocent person.
After Ji Hoon’s perfect closing statement, everyone in the court guessed the result. The judge gives the result in Myeong Ho’s favour, and he is free to go then. He leaves right away to meet his daughter, but Ji Hoon stays behind to solve Myeong Ho’s money problem. He asks Ma Ri if she is going to appeal against the result and hopes that she will not. Myeong Ho needs to get money from the prosecution for locking him up for 36 days and taking away his chances to make money because that amount of money can pay for his daughter’s surgery.
‘One Dollar Lawyer’ Episode 2: Ending
Ma Ri was a probationary judicial officer in the prosecutor’s office, and she is going to join her grandfather’s law firm as her tenure ends. However, her grandfather orders her to work at another law firm for two months, and if she can survive there, only then can she work at Baek law firm. Ma Ri’s grandfather had seen her arguing with Ji Hoon in court. He knows Ji Hoon and needs someone like him at his firm. Knowing Ji Hoon won’t join his firm, he sends Ma Ri to learn from him.
Ma Ri gets surprised when she understands that her grandfather wants her to work under Ji Hoon and runs away. However, her grandfather is adamant about the deal. Ma Ri returns to Ji Hoon’s office the next day and cleans it before Ji Hoon arrives to impress him, but he still doesn’t allow her to work with him. She joins hands with Ma Jang and brings in new cases for the firm, but Ma Jang is just the manager, and Ji Hoon says that he will make the decision to let Ma Ri work or not.
A little boy asks Ji Hoon to help his grandfather, who is being bullied by a rich man. Ji Hoon takes Ma Jang and Ma Ri with him to visit his grandfather. The grandfather is a security guard at an apartment complex, and a resident is asking him for compensation for scratching his expensive car. The resident is rude and full of himself, but Ji Hoon knows how to teach such people a lesson.
While demonstrating the possibilities of how the old man’s cart could have scratched the car, Ji Hoon crashes the cart into the resident’s car, which breaks the bonnet. The case is no longer about the little scratch but about car damage. Ji Hoon creates more damage to free the old man from the resident’s torture. Ji Hoon hands a thousand won to Ma Ri and tells her to handle the case for him as his lawyer. If Ma Ri wants to work with the “One Dollar Lawyer,” she needs to settle this case successfully.