First Impressions: One Dollar Lawyer

Did you love Namgoong Min in Chief Kim/Good Manager? His humor and physical comedy were dead on! He’s also proved his range with roles like in The Girl Who Sees Scents and The Veil. But if you were missing funny Namgoong Min, never fear! He’s back in One Dollar Lawyer in all his comedic glory. Read on to see if this is the legal drama you’ve been looking for. 


(courtesy of Cheon Ji Hun is a lawyer with unusual flair, including stylishly permed hair. His retainer is only 1,000 won (about USD 1) for his services, despite being one of the most successful lawyers around. He argues against the most expensive lawyers who are representing rich clients intent on flouting the law.

Since graduating from the Judicial Research and Training Institute,  Baek Ma Ri has been a Prosecutor’s Assistant.  Confident and self-assured, she is also a lawyer with her grandfather Baek Hyun Mu’s renowned Baek Law Firm. Ma Ri’s life has been going smoothly, that is, until she meets Ji Hun.


The cheesy, scene-chewing Namgoong Min is back as a lawyer. Just imagine Chief Kim giving up his corporate ambitions and moving to a low-rent office to hang his legal shingle, and you’ll have Cheon Ji Hun. Lawyer Cheon and his office manager, Sa Mu Jang, can often be found dodging the landlady as she pursues them for overdue rent, then taking on cases for approximately $1…and winning. The problem with $1 cases is while they might give you the warm fuzzies, they really don’t do much else. Cheon Ji Hun doesn’t have other visible means of employment, despite his permed hair and snazzy suits, so I have to wonder how he’s funding it all. 

Of course, on the other side of the courtroom, we have Kim Ji Eun playing Baek Ma Ri. She’s a passionate prosecutor who’s willing to take cases based on intent and not real criminal action, and loses rather disgracefully to Cheon Ji Hun in front of a jury. When her prosecution probation ends, her respected grandfather sends her to intern with Cheon Ji Hun to learn his tactics. Grandfather wants someone who will stand up for justice, but Baek Ma Ri just wants someone who acts with dignity. In other words, anyone BUT Cheon Ji Hun. 


Full disclosure: I’ve only watched the first two episodes of One Dollar Lawyer. Based on that experience, I predict that the shenanigans and hijinks will continue for a number of episodes, since that’s Namgoong Min’s specialty. His put-upon office manager will go for the ride until his wife nags him out of it. They’ll hilariously dodge the landlady for more episodes, and somehow through it all, Baek Ma Ri will learn to have a heart. Her uptight nature will unwind and she’ll find herself standing up for the little guy. In a poignant moment during the final episodes, she’ll take her own case for $1, having learned the true meaning of Christmas that sometimes people just need someone on their side.

You see what I mean. The story feels predictable, and Namgoong Min seriously seems to be recycling his Chief Kim routine. At the moment, he and Kim Ji Eun have zero chemistry, and honestly, I would hope the drama stays romance-free. 

What about you, drama fans? Are you watching One Dollar Lawyer? Will you be sticking with it? Drop me a comment below and let me know how it goes – I would LOVE to be wrong!

Until the next legal drama (I really need a break), I remain – 

Karie the Maknae

Dramas with a Side of Kimchi

2 thoughts on “First Impressions: One Dollar Lawyer

  1. I’m enjoying it, I haven’t watched Chief kim so this particular character is new to me even if the story is pretty familiar

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