Asian Drama Synopsis Fail: Prosecutor Princess
Oh, it’s a major fail. The funny part about the synopsis of Korean drama Prosecutor Princess [검사 프린세스; Geomsa Peurinseseu] is that while not entirely untrue, it doesn’t give you really enough to go on and makes you think it will actually be something it is not. I honestly can’t remember what even motivated me to watch this drama…and finish it. It could be because the drama was penned by the writer of Shining Inheritance/Brilliant Legacy. I loved that drama. Even with the flaws it did have, it was still better than this drama overall. If you don’t want anything spoiled, don’t continue on.
Ma Hye Ri is a woman with an excellent memory and ability to focus, which allowed her to pass the bar exam with ease. Despite her talents, she is more interested in being fashionable and dislikes hard work so she is far from being an ideal prosecutor and has doubts about her suitability for her job. Through her conflicts with senior colleages [sic] and struggles with difficult cases, however, Hye Ri gradually matures into a brilliant prosecutor with a sense of duty and justice.
This 2010 drama starred Kim So Yeon as Ma Hye Ri (our reluctant prosecutor), Park Shi Hoo as Seo In Woo (our lawyer with a hidden agenda), and Han Jung Soo as Yoon Se Joon (our handsome, straight-laced prosecutor/widower with an adorable daughter). I remember watching this drama and literally hating Ma Hye Ri for like the first 5-7 episodes. In a 16 episode drama, that’s rather bad. I don’t attribute this to bad acting on Kim So Yeon’s part. I just found the initial character of Ma Hye Ri to be very hard to sympathize with and to understand.
The synopsis on DramaFever gives you a bit better grasp of what the first synopsis doesn’t tell you:
The writer of 2009 hit Shining Inheritance adds a romantic comedy twist to this traditional revenge story. Having graduated law school with little effort due to her superb memory and high intelligence, Ma Hye Ri has little on her mind at her graduation ceremony but the high-end fashion show going on at the same time. Escaping the ceremony in favor of skiing and shopping, she has no idea that her weekend of frivolity will set off a chain of events that will change her life forever. Forced to become a prosecutor at the insistence of her wealthy father, she appears knowledgeable but unsympathetic to her new co-workers. Meanwhile, mysterious lawyer Seo In Woo takes her under his wing and helps the princess learn a thing or two about compassion in her work. Meanwhile, educated prosecutor Yoon Se Joon begins to fall for her, but In Woo is always beside her—until Hye Ri begins to question what his motives are.
Okay. So overall from both synopses we know that Ma Hye Ri has an exceptional memory (close to photographic) and she cares more about frivolous things than for her current job as a newbie prosecutor (which her father did force her into). True on all accounts. The second synopsis actually dives into the plot of the first and second episodes so it really is a beginning overview than a synopsis in the grand scheme of things. Also true is that she doesn’t really like working hard and she does have many conflicts with her seniors, particularly on her lack of empathy for the people involved in the cases she works on. In her head is the rule book and she does things only by the book without looking into any extenuating circumstances.
Also true is that there is some romantic comedy mixed into a revenge story. But…the thing is that it really takes too long to even understand that there is a revenge storyline going on underneath it all. And yes, lawyer Seo In Woo does take her in and help her for unclear motives. And yes, Yoon Se Joon begins to feel some things for her, but I don’t really think you can ever say that he was truly falling for Ma Hye Ri because she is actually nearly the spitting image of his deceased wife (oh…they are complete opposites by the way).
So if all of those things mentioned above is true? Why is it a fail?
Okay, let’s start with the DramaWiki synopsis. If you go by what it says, you’ll think Prosecutor Princess will be this human drama focusing on turning a shallow prosecutor into a strong person with a sense of justice. That is SO not what you are getting. Even DramaFever’s synopsis makes you think the same thing except they throw in a love triangle for good measure (which was actually kind of more like a quadrangle…or maybe even 5-sided as I had my suspicions about In Woo’s assistant Jenny).
Sure, we do get a lot of Hye Ri at her office dealing with cases (or rather not dealing with them) and her interactions with coworkers and her daily dealings with In Woo who tries to help her along with becoming a better prosecutor. But while there is this strong focus…expecting this to be a drama strong in what it means to be a prosecutor in South Korea… I think you’ll be disappointed. And if you really think Hye Ri is a relatable character, you’d also be misled. There really is nothing likeable about her at all at the start and for really half the drama. Sure, we learn that she was a former fat woman whose heart was broken when the man she liked turned out to be using her for her brain, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that (partially thanks to her mother) she became so shallow and really only cared about the outer beauty she worked so hard to achieve (naturally – no full body makeovers with plastic surgery here). This really made me unsympathetic when her coworkers ostracized her and her clients threw tomatoes and curses at her. Even when she started trying to do well at her job, it was more or less to prove a point and not because she really cared about the people and the cases. Sure this changes. Sure she matures. Sure this is part of the main focus of the drama. But…again…having such a dislike for the leading lady and her attitude at the beginning, it can be hard to continue on.
I remember screaming in frustration and whining in recaps about how much I couldn’t stand Hye Ri’s character. Too bad I never finished recapping this drama even though I did finish watching it. I would love to go back and read my thoughts as the characters all evolved.
There was romance. There was comedy. There was “revenge.” But to really talk about a romantic comedy mixed with a typical revenge drama…that really is not accurate at all. It was less funny than you’d think for a comedy, and at times there really wasn’t enough romance going on to say it’s a romance drama. And the revenge part? Laughable. It really was. Sure, this is what In Woo is working on for a good portion of the drama, but you never really got the revenge feeling going from him… especially towards the end when the shit hit the fan and the truth was revealed. If this was a revenge drama… where is all the angsty and evil acts that normally occur? Where are the worthless bad guys who never get the comeuppance they deserve and end up triumphing over our revenge taker more often than not? Really with Seo In Woo there is more mystery and less being revealed to even understand why he’s doing what he’s doing.
Ma Hye Ri is a vapid and shallow daughter of a wealthy family whose only saving grace is her remarkable memory. Forced to become a prosecutor by her father, she desperately hopes to escape a job she dreads and coworkers she doesn’t understand and who she cannot get along with. Her one (and only joy) of going to work each day is the sexy widower Yoon Se Joon who keeps her at a distance and has no patience for her shallow ways. Enter in the mysterious lawyer Seo In Woo who saved her when she was in desperate need at a ski resort. He takes Hye Ri under his wing to guide her in the right direction, but this seemingly nice man has a vindictive streak and a hidden revenge agenda that spans back to his childhood. When romance blooms, can In Woo forget the past to have a future with the slowly maturing prosecutor?