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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Good Wife"


Drama remakes of North American shows seem to be on the rise lately and there are as many expectations as there are worries. Summarizing multi-season shows into less than twenty episodes is not an easy task and there are many differences to consider. As someone who has not seen the original series, I look at "The Good Wife" as an independent work with its own strengths and flaws.

Kim Hye-kyeong (Jeon Do-yeon) is a housewife who re-enters the workforce as a lawyer following her husband's sex and corruption scandals and subsequent detention. With over a decade's break from her profession behind her and little actual experience in it, she tackles work again in order to support her children. The series follows her as she works, untangles her marriage and takes back control of her life.

Hye-kyeong and Tae-joonTae-joon and Do-seop

"The Good Wife" is an interesting piece, because it does not feel bound to the usual plot and character concepts of Korean drama. The individual court cases presented in the series handle very interesting situations and along with the main character drama form quite a down to Earth and at times even progressive whole. The pacing is fast, which does cause some issues I will speak about soon, but it also makes this an exciting watch.

The characters feel real and have complex behaviors. The development of some is quite good and of course one has to mention the great cast portraying them. The leading lady herself, Jeon Do-yeon makes Hye-kyeong's journey a pleasure to watch, going from someone lacking agency and confidence to someone proactive and in change. Even the guest roles are cast with delightful actors, forming a quirky and enjoyable set of characters.

The bad side to its fast pacing and many characters, however, is that "The Good Wife" feels as if it rushes through its content. Some secondary characters and behaviors are very underdeveloped and so are some sub plots. This includes Hye-kyeong's husband, played by Yoo Ji-tae. The actor's skill and charisma can only carry what is a static and almost blank character so far. Given his importance in this story, he weakens it.

Hye-kyeong and Joong-wonHye-kyeong, Ji-hoon and Seo-yeon

This mad dash of a plot also harms the development of some relationships, or rather removes the audience from the process. This means that when the time comes to present these relationships as meaningful, we have very little proof of it. The conflicts which form in them lack gravity due to this as well. In a sense, the series goes from A to B and skips the journey.

The ending radically changes the outcome of this journey, exposing the show's weakness in properly building its major points even more. Even so, "The Good Wife" is mostly a great series and it boldly tries new things without simply throwing them in to see what works. This quality-focused approach is always welcome.

"The Good Wife" is directed by Lee Jeong-hyo, written by Han Sang-woon and features Jeon Do-yeon, Yoo Ji-tae, Yoon Kye-sang and Kim Seo-hyung.

Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'

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