This recap of Extraordinary Attorney Woo season 1, episode 1 contains spoilers.
For a very long time, mainstream portrayals of autism spectrum disorders have been dismal at best and outright offensive at worst. In a culture that barely allows anyone to get away with anything these days, the obvious upside is that insensitive portrayals of things like Asperger’s are becoming less and less common. Extraordinary Prosecutor Woolike his colleagues from the Netflix series Atypicalwades through these treacherous waters with care and attention, delivering a promising blend of comedy and drama in its first 77-minute outing.
Extraordinary Attorney Woo season 1, episode 1 recap
The title’s advocate extraordinaire is Woo Young-woo, the only blue duck among a flock of yellow ones, at least according to the episode’s opening visual metaphor. Like most people with ASD, Young-woo was diagnosed young, at age five, with his Asperger syndrome manifesting as socially quiet and reserved, but also a genius in many ways and an obsessive lover of whales.
These days, Young-woo is the very first autistic lawyer to graduate from law school in first place with honors. The whales, however, and their talks, are probably best left at home, though their song accompanies her on the train to work, and her mind imagines them swimming alongside the carriage.
Of course, Young-woo’s autism causes problems and increases the pressure. Lawyer Jung Myeong-seok is surprised to see Young-woo’s candidacy accepted by CEO Han and is somewhat relieved by an agreement that if Young-woo is unable to handle a case Myeong-seok gives her, she will be fired. There’s clearly a case of staunch traditional values being challenged here, though Young-woo’s TSA is also becoming a matter of concern among the clients she represents.
Speaking of cases, the first involves a 70-year-old woman, Yeong-ran, who hit her husband – who suffers from dementia – with an iron that looks like a whale. It’s a good way to showcase Young-woo’s considerable knowledge and abilities, as well as his quirks and idiosyncrasies. Interwoven with relevant flashbacks, the messy affair unfolds amid character-building scenes — Young-woo discussing revolving doors with Jun-ho, for example — that help flesh out the series’ tone and Young-woo’s character. .
It also exposes some drawbacks, such as his difficulty speaking in court in front of people when the case goes to a jury. The death of Mr. Park, Yeong-ran’s husband, mid-trial only complicates matters further. It’s Jun-ho and those loyal whales that help Young-woo get through the ordeal and also allow him to develop a compelling closing argument about how Mr. Park once had a cerebral hemorrhage before he was hit by the iron. After exposing his character on the stand, this detail is enough for the charges against Yeong-ran to be dropped and a favorable outcome to be achieved.
It’s assumed that this Case of the Week format will persist as we continue to learn more about Young-woo and explore the dynamics of his workplace and family, especially as a final scene suggests that there could be a link between the two. For now, however, the opening episode of Extraordinary Prosecutor Woo lives up to its title enough that the possibilities for the future seem quite enticing.
You can stream Extraordinary Attorney Woo season 1, episode 1 exclusively on Netflix.
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