Lawless Lawyer Episode 16 Recap (Final)
An O Joo (Choi Min Soo) and his assistant prepare to leave the county per the arrangements of his former assistant. He grabs his bag of cash and declares they must leave. His former assistant stabs him from behind. He realizes Judge Cha has him in her employ. O Joo’s assistant rushes the murdering assistant. Sang Pil (Lee Joon Gi) arrives and sees the situation. He passes O Joo and fights the former assistant. The man flees. O Joo’s assistant jokes they could have used him sooner. O Joo struggles to remain standing. His assistant dies from the knife wounds inflicted by the former assistant. O Joo eyes his dead assistant. Sang Pil shakes the dead man but to no avail. O Joo asks about the trial. Sang Pil reports the trial was adjourned and what just unfolded was her machinations. O Joo agrees. He falls down. He asks if he can still testify. Sang Pil confirms this. O Joo manages to stand. He pulls his bag of cash out of the lobby.
Judge Cha Moon Sook (Cha Moon Sook) sits in chambers. She is not happy when O Joo’s former assistant calls to report that he did not kill O Joo because Sang Pil came and saved him. Irked, she orders him to find O Joo and finish the job.
Ha Jae Yi (Seo Ye Ji) listens to Mrs. Nam admit she faked the attack to gain herself more time. Jae Yi warns Mrs. Nam not to believe Judge Cha’s promises. Sang Pil arrives and tells Jae Yi that O Joo was found and Judge Cha won’t like the outcome. Mrs. Nam demands to know if O Joo will testify. Sang Pil confirms O Joo will testify. She can’t believe. Sang Pil tells her she must decide if she will testify for or against Judge Cha.
Tae Gwang Soo (Kim Byung Hee) gets flirty with Geum Gang’s sister. Geum Gang (Lim Ki Hong) tell them besmirch his beloved Subway with that kind of behavior. The gang performs a mock trial with Geum Gang’s sister as Sang Pil and Geum Gang as the judge. Sang Pil and Jae Yi can’t help but smile when they enter. Everyone laughs. They discuss how having O Joo testify is crucial. They agree they need press coverage too.
Subway product placement, a staple.
Sang Pil meets with Prosecutor Chun. He admits asked the trusted thug not to name Judge Cha because he’d hoped to get Mrs. Nam to confess. They discuss O Joo who has been called as a witness and forbidden from leaving the country. Sang Pil admits he’s keeping Jae Yi’s mother in secret and will produce her IF he needs her at the trial.
Mrs. Nam is horrified when her daughter Kang Yeon Hee (Cha Jung Won) declares she’ll beg Judge Cha for mercy because Sang Pil can’t save her only Judge Cha can.
Jae Yi tells her reporter friend the trial will pull the mask off Judge Cha. Jae Yi asks the reporter to gather local and international reporter to cover the trial so the trial has wide coverage. The reporter agrees anxious to see Judge Cha go down.
Judge Cha and her lawyer meet with Mrs. Nam. They claim to be concerned about her. Judge Cha asks if Sang Pil claimed O Joo would testify. Mrs. Nam is surprised. Judge Cha is firm that O Joo will never testify because he knows the consequences. The lawyer warns Mrs. Nam not to believe Sang Pil’s promises. Judge Cha takes Mrs. Nam’s hands and reiterates that Sang Pil cannot be trusted. Judge Cha says that Sang Pil doesn’t care about her like she does.
As they leave Judge Cha tells the lawyer that Mrs. Nam cannot be trusted. She says she’ll have to neutralize both Mrs. Nam and O Joo.
Sang Pil and Jae Yi prepare for the next day in the trial. They agree that Judge Cha adding her lawyer to the witness list is designed to pressure Mrs. Nam and reduce her credibility as well as O Joo’s credibility. Sang Pil gets a phone call. He listens then stares at Jae Yi.
Any one else find it odd that Sang Pil didn’t take O Joo under his control or get him medical attention? If he’s a crucial witness shouldn’t he be treated as such?
O Joo loads his pistol. He burns his money.
The next day outside the courtroom, Sang Pil and Jae Yi see Judge Cha. Jae Yi promises her she’ll be the star of the day. Judge Cha counters that she’ll control the trial. Sang Pil states O Joo wasn’t planning on testifying. Judge Cha declares O Joo will not testify. Jae Yi promises this will be Judge Cha’s last trial.
Sang Pil and Jae Yi thank all the reporters who have attended to cover the trial. He promises an exciting day.
Yeon Hee calls to her mother as Mrs. Nam takes her place next to Sang Pil and Jae Yi at the defendant’s table. Mrs. Nam frets that Judge Cha controls her daughter. Jae Yi points out Mrs. Nam created the situation and her testimony can change all that.
The video of Mrs. Nam is shown. Detective Oh testifies that the video is real not fabricated.
When Jae Yi cross examines Detective Oh, she asks how the video was obtained. Detective Oh states the Chief Prosecutor provided the video. Jae Yi asks how often the Chief Prosecutor provides evidence. Detective Oh admits it is a rare occurrence. Jae Yi asks where the Chief Prosecutor got the video. Detective Oh admits the Chief Prosecutor refused to share the origins of the video. Jae Yi finds that unusual. Judge Cha stops the questioning. Jae Yi requests the Chief Prosecutor testify. Judge Cha agrees.
The Chief Prosecutor takes the stand. Sang Pil asks where he got the video clip. He claims it was an anonymous informant. Sang Pil asks if the informant has more clout than he does. Judge Cha asks what the point of the question is. Sang Pil reminds the court the previous witness stated that a high-ranking official was named by the “murdered” masseuse. Sang Pil reminds the court the Chief Prosecutor also provided documents detailing O Joo’s illegal campaign fund activities from an anonymous informant. Sang Pil asks who the Chief Prosecutor who the anonymous informant is. The Chief Prosecutor refuses to reveal the identify. Sang Pil promises that will be revealed later.
Mrs. Nam is called to testify. Sang Pil asks if she ordered the murder of the masseuse. There is a long pause in which Mrs. Nam stares at Judge Cha, then she admits to the crime. Sang Pil asks if she’s aware that she’ll receive the same punishment as the murderer. Mrs. Nam confirms she knows this. Judge Cha tries to end Sang Pil’s questioning and wrap her Mrs. Nam’s testimony. Sang Pil states he has more to ask. Judge Cha relents. Sang Pil asks Mrs. Nam if she acted solo. Mrs. Nam states someone ordered her to do kill the masseuse. The courtroom buzzes. Sang Pil asks Mrs. Nam if the person that ordered her to kill the masseuse is the same high ranking official the previous witness testified about. Mrs. Nam confirms this. She admits she was afraid to admit this, hence her silence on the matter. She stares at Judge Cha and declares those with power can erase the truth. Sang Pil asks if the high-ranking official is in the court. Mrs. Nam identifies Judge Cha as the high ranking official. The courtroom buzzes. Judge Cha calls the courtroom to order. She orders the statement stricken. Sang Pil asks Judge Cha if she ordered the murder. Judge Cha ignores him and ends Mrs. Nam’s testimony.
Judge Cha calls her lawyer to the stand. He testifies as the former attorney for O Joo, he new that Mrs. Nam was active in the Golden City development only to line her own pockets. He declares Mrs. Nam is a liar. Judge Cha suggests Mrs. Nam’s statement that someone else ordered her to murder the masseuse is also a lie. The lawyer provides evidence. He confirms that Mrs. Nam stood to make $10B in the Golden City development. Mrs. Nam doesn’t like that. Judge Cha tells her to sit.
The courtroom doors open. O Joo stands in the door way. He walks into the courtroom. Sang Pil declares that O Joo will testify. Judge Cha calls the Prosecutor Chun and Sang Pil to the bench. Prosecutor Chun confirms he wants O Joo to testify. He steps away. Judge Cha tells Sang Pil she’ll neuter O Joo’s testimony just like she did to Mrs. Nam’s. Sang Pil declares the truth will come out and she’ll soon learn why O Joo is here to testify. Judge Cha approves O Joo as a witness.
O Joo swears to tell the truth and is seated. O Joo declares the life he’s lived is proof. He asks for a glass of water. He testifies that he has been the “fixer thug” for the Cha family for years. Judge Cha doesn’t want the questioning to continue. Prosecutor Chun wants it continue. Judge Cha is forced to allow it. Sang Pil list people including his mother that O Joo murdered under Judge Cha’s orders. O Joo confirms that Judge Cha ordered him to kill all those people. The courtroom buzzes. Judge Cha suggests Mrs. Nam and O Joo are colluding. Sang Pil shows the picture from 18 years ago of Judge Cha and O Joo. Sang Pil asks O Joo to identify the people in the photo. O Joo identifies himself and Judge Cha. Sang Pil asks O Joo to explain the circumstances the photo was taken. O Joo grabs the mic and tells the courtroom that Judge Cha ran over someone and called him to fix the mess she made. Judge Cha asks how O Joo can prove it. She declares the testimony and picture have been fabricated. Jae Yi declares another witness can verify the picture and testimony. Jae Yi calls the witness to appear.
Jae Yi’s mother steps forward and stares at Judge Cha. Jae Yi declares this is the masseuse that was ordered murdered because she took the picture 18 years ago. Jae Yi declares she an eye witness to the murder and her mother. Jae Yi stares at Judge Cha and declares Judge Cha ordered her mother kidnapped and killed. Sang Pil explains they rescued Jae Yi’s mother just before Judge Cha’s thugs killed her. Sang Pil demands Judge Cha to respond to their accusations. Judge Cha adjourns for the day. Sang Pil orders her to sit. She stares at Sang Pil. The gallery erupts and demands Judge Cha answer the accusations. Sang Pil declares she cannot escape the accusations. Prosecutor Chun declares he’s amending the charges and wants to postpone the trial. Judge Cha looks around her courtroom.
O Joo is handcuffed and taken away. Sang Pil and Jae Yi watch him go. He asks to smoke a cigarette.
Judge Cha hangs her head in her chambers. She trashes her desk.
Jae Yi and Sang Pil exit the court room. Gwang Soo rushes to them and declares O Joo got away. Sang Pil thinks he knows where O Joo is headed. He tells Gwang Soo to stay with Jae Yi. She tells him to be careful.
At the waterfront, O Joo stares at the police. Sang Pil arrives. O Joo waves his gun at Sang Pil. He walks to O Joo and declares he must face the punishment the law demands. O Joo declares himself above the law. He handcuffs Sang Pil to him and puts the gun to him. He tells Sang Pil that his mother suffered. Sang Pil grabs his throat. O Joo laughs that his mother is in heaven. Sang Pil puts the gun to O Joo’s head. Prosecutor Chun tells him not to do it. O Joo dares him to kill him. Sang Pil considers and bends down to O Joo. He says he’s lived in pain for 18 years. Sang Pil says he won’t dirty himself with O Joo’s blood. Instead he’ll destroy him with the law. They butt heads. O Joo declares he was born in this location and he’ll die here too. He tells him to destroy Judge Cha with the law. He grabs the gun and shoots himself in the head. Sang Pil stands, his hand tethered to the dead O Joo.
Judge Cha smiles at a positive article about herself. She drops her judicial robes and leaves the office.
At Judge Cha’s house, Detective Oh says he’s there to arrest her. She refuses to be handcuffed but goes with the police.
The news reports Judge Cha’s arrest.
The police arrest Judge Cha’s lawyer.
The editor is arrested.
The Chief Prosecutor is questioned by the police.
Sang Pil and Jae Yi enter Prosecutor Chun’s office and give him all the evidence from Sang Pil’s past. Jae Yi says Prosecutor Chun can build a good case with this evidence. Sang Pil states his mother’s murder was the beginning. Prosecutor Chun praises Sang Pil for turning revenge into justice.
Yeon Hee thanks her mother for giving her a chance for fresh start. Mrs. Nam praises her daughter for taking a new path. Both women cry.
In prison garb Judge Cha meets with Jae Yi and Sang Pil. Jae Yi asks how it feels to be a mere mortal. Judge Cha declares she knows humans are ugly and as a judge she’d helped the world by putting criminals away. Sang Pil counters that Judge Cha’s greed and hypocrisy created tragedy. Sang Pil says he made her accountable to those she hurt over the years. Sang Pil says she should ask for their forgiveness. Sang Pil stands and tells them they must forgive her or the rest of their lives will be spent in pain.
Outside the prison, Jae Yi says that Judge Cha doesn’t get it. She thinks the world still revolves around her. Sang Pil states power was Judge Cha’s birthright and she doesn’t even know it.
That must be a bad translation because that is a ridiculous statement. Judge Cha knows she has power and has welded it her entire life.
Sang Pil stares at the wall of evidence. He looks at photos of his mother.
Flashback…As a young boy Sang Pil watches Jae Yi’s mother giving her mother the damming photos of Judge Cha. His mother stated that these photos would ultimately help Judge Cha. Jae Yi’s mother asked Sang Pil how old he was. Seven was the response. Jae Yi’s mother shows them a picture of a young Jae Yi. The woman clasped hands. Sang Pil’s mother declares exposing the truth will benefit their children. Jae Yi’s mother smiles and agrees this is worth doing.
Jae Yi joins him at the wall of evidence. Sang Pil admits he was remembering the early days. He reminds her they lived near each other. He wonders if they met long ago at the stationary store.
Flashback…A young Jae Yi stares at the closed sign on the stationary store. A young Sang Pil walks up and sees the sign. He tells her he can help if she needs to buy anything. She scoffs no and walk away. Sang Pil follows. Jae Yi stops and smiles. Sang Pil smiles.
Jae Yi doesn’t believe they met as children. Sang Pil believes the possibility exists.
Jae Yi and Sang Pil stare at the justice statue at the courtroom. Prosecutor Chun calls to them. Outside Prosecutor Chun reports the Judge Cha has appealed the guilty verdict. Sang Pil says that Judge Cha won’t be able to wiggle out of the conviction. Jae Yi teases Prosecutor Chun for working at the special prosecutor branch. Prosecutor Chun retorts that isn’t the stepping stone to success. Prosecutor Chun declares they should return to Seoul. He wants them to do something for him at the special branch. Jae Yi agrees to go. Sang Pil agrees to go because Jae Yi agrees.
In prison Mrs. Nam yells to Judge Cha that she should talk to her and not ignore her. Judge Cha says nothing.
Outside the lawless lawyer office, the gang distributes flies in celebration. One member of the team pretends to be O Joo and declares Judge Cha made him do it. Geum Gang declares Judge Cha can’t deny the truth. Gwang Soo and Geum Gang’s sister love it. The gang gathers and declares they are the Lawless Lawyers. They strike a pose. The office is filled with clients. Sang Pil and Jae Yi are busy offering legal advice.
Later the gang include Jae Yi’s parents in a celebratory dinner. Geum Gang declares the Lawless Lawyer serve the entire city. Jae Yi’s father makes a toast. Geum Gang asks if Sang Pil and Jae Yi will leave for Seoul. Sang Pil declares even though they are leaving, they’ll return often. Geum Gang’s sister is bummed. Gwang Soo declares the firm will move forward. Sang Pil announces Gwang Soo is studying to be a lawyer. Gwang Soo declares his intent to follow in Sang Pil’s footsteps. Geum Gang is impressed. His sister says she likes lawyers. Geum Gang realizes Gwang Soo could become his brother in law. Everyone laughs.
As Jae Yi drives back to Seoul and Sang Pil suggest they switch and he’ll drive the rest of the way. Sang Pil says he’s watched her for a long time. They smile. Jae Yi asks what it is like to leave his hometown with her. Sang Pil declares he achieved everything he wanted – revenge, justice and love. They smile. Jae Yi punches the accelerator. They put on their shades and declares the future is theirs. The theme music swells.
They arrive in Seoul. Prosecutor Chun greets them. He welcomes they to the lawless city of Seoul. Prosecutor Chun declares they will stamp out corruption in government. Jae Yi declares they will be busy. Sang Pil declares they’ll punish those that hide behind power to take advantage of others. Jae Yi declares sometimes they’ll have to be lawless. Sang Pil proclaims it is time to start. Jae Yi agrees. They bump fists. Prosecutor Chun grins. Sang Pil and Jae Yi put on their shades and stride in the future. A new day has dawned in Seoul!
Judge Cha went down with a whimper. Writer Yoon closed this series ticking all the boxes. Judge Cha and the rest of the seven had some form of justice served. Sang Pil and Jae Yi prevailed in court. A bright future awaits our couple. And yet…this wasn’t an exciting final episode. The tension, the drama, the emotion, felt subdued. Lawless Lawyer came in like a lion and out like a lamb. I liked where the series ended up, but compared to all the other terrific episodes, the finale fell a bit short.
Bong Sang Pil (Lee Joon Gi) achieved the trifecta – revenge, justice and love. Writer Yoon nailed that line. Sang Pil didn’t want only revenge, he wanted justice and got it. Initially his instinct was to pursue seize revenge but he evolved and walked the path to achieve justice. As a couple, Sang Pil and Jae Yi are well matched. The reveal that they met as children was sweet. Thankfully the dalliance with noble idiocy didn’t destroy them or drive me crazy. Lee Joon Gi embraced Sang Pil and effectively portrayed this cocky, street smart, strategic lawyer. If you are a Lee Joon Gi fan, you know he brought it this series. Isn’t he expressive like few actors are? Didn’t he acquit himself well in the fight scenes? Weren’t there moments where you felt the depth of his pain? If he didn’t elevate this character, wouldn’t this series have been less than satisfactory?
Ha Jae Yi (Seo Ye Ji) had the pleasure of revealing the eye witness to the murder Judge Cha committed in court. Jae Yi got to nail Judge Cha with that reveal. It was good to see her father stand by her mother’s side in court. Finally, he knew that Judge Cha had wrecked his family and his blind allegiance was gone. Jae Yi’s faith in Sang Pil was briefly shaken over her mother but for the most part their goals and trust in each other was mutual. Jae Yi was a female character I liked and respected. She was smart. She said what she thought. She punched men that behaved like jerks. She had a relationship with Sang Pil that was adult, caring, and based on mutual respect. Ignoring the noble idiocy segment, this was a solid couple. Seo Yi Ji impressed, bringing to life an ethical passionate character that withstood every challenge.
How did I do on my wish list for the final episode?
* GRANTED – Judge Cha is revealed to be the mastermind and monster behind the affable self-deprecating mask she wears. She lost her status, her money, her good standing in the public, and the goal of being a supreme court judge vanished into thin air. She was in jail at the end of the episode. And yet, she considered all the fuss about what she viewed as justifiable actions unnecessary. Bottom line, she learned nothing as she was extracted from public life.
* GRANTED – Sang Pil and Jae Yi are triumphant in court. They worked as a team to make their strategy effective and a winning one. I was glad to see Jae Yi contributing. I was glad to see Sang Pil rely on her.
* PARTIALLY GRANTED – O Joo goes to jail. He can’t get off. He killed Sang Pil’s mother. O Joo did testify against Judge Cha. But he escaped from the police after trial. He and Sang Pil had a head to head show down. O Joo goaded Sang Pil to kill him, but Sang Pil declared justice not revenge would be served. Unable to handle what that future entailed, O Joo took his own life.
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as very good. My episode ranking chart is below.
The entire OST is comprised of 20 songs: