Legal Mavericks Episode 1 Recap
Legal Mavericks is a 2017 Hong Kong drama which aired on TVB Jade and iQiyi earlier this summer. As this is from Hong Kong, the language is not Mandarin, but Cantonese. The drama follows a blind lawyer who loves to take on cases that involve the disabled to see they get justice. By his side is a clerk whose father is a former mafia and a down on his luck private eye. In a way, this really is a Daredevil-like plot.
We open with a montage of voices. A man leaving a message asking what someone is waiting for. If they don’t go out and get it then it will be too late. A woman’s voice then comes on. Once someone lay in wake complaining of pain. She knew they did not want words of comfort. She will always be there for that person. Another female’s voice comes on. Their meetings were full of confrontation, but through that she came to care. She is now leaving and won’t come back. Does he have anything to say?
I dare not start as I am afraid of building the relationship. I am afraid of building the relationship because I fear that it would end. I’m sorry.
It is a rainy day and a man in a smart suit wearing sunglasses is out walking. He dodges splashes and easily avoids collision by sandwiching himself between two people walking in the opposite direction. While he seems to be easily navigating the woes of the rainy city, a blind man with a cane is having great difficulties. The two men arrive at the same intersection. A bump makes the blind man believe that it is safe to cross and he steps into the intersection. Our dandy in the suit soon follows behind, but manages to jump back just in time to avoid being hit. The man who crossed earlier is stopped by the police and is getting in trouble for crossing the road when the pedestrian light was red. The guy is obviously blind, but the police officers show no concern for this. This has the dandy cross the road and get in trouble, too. The policemen ask why he crossed against the light and he refuses to respond saying he does not think they will listen to him as they are already writing a ticket to a blind man. Fine. He can tell it to the judge. The dandy smiles and says he will do just that.
In the courtroom, the poor blind man begs for mercy this once when the dandy steps up and requests his case be done first. His name is Man Sun-hop [Vincent Wong]. He is scolded for interrupting and for wearing his sunglasses in court, obscuring his face. Man Sun-hop says that removing the glasses means nothing since he is blind and can’t see, but he does remove his shades and reveals his unseeing eyes. He explains the man before him believes Sun-hop’s testimony will help his case and that is why he wants Sun-hop to go first.
We do get to see flashbacks of Sun-hop setting a destination into his phone and putting in an earpiece to listen to its directions. We also get to see what we didn’t before, such as Sun-hop feeling along walls and intently listening to the sounds around him to avoid danger (they show his ears twitching for this). Anyways, he explains that the conditions of the city on a rainy day are not good for the vision impaired. Sun-hop then produces photographs illustrating the points he is making. Normal people won’t possibly understand the difficulties a disabled person has to try to use all their senses in that cacophony. Yes, the man crossed when the light was red and yes, the officers were doing their jobs. The problem is they could not hear the noises from the traffic signal indicating if they could cross or not. The judge listens to all of this and Sun-hop’s plea to make things fairer for the disadvantaged. He has been blind nearly his entire life and had difficulties that day, think of how bad it must be for the other man who is newly blind.
The judge takes this into consideration and decides to waive the fines that come with the ticket. He does urge Sun-hop to not go against the law to try to prove his point next time. The judge then says it is a pity Sun-hop is blind as he would make a great lawyer. Excuse me? He can’t be a lawyer simply because he is blind? Ouch. Talk about discriminatory. Of course, that is part of the point of this drama just like in how God’s Quiz part of the point was how people with rare diseases were treated poorly and misunderstood as well. The blind man thanks Sun-hop for his help and Sun-hop gives him his card and tells him to call him again if there’s ever any trouble. The judge begins repeating Sun-hop’s name and wondering why it is so familiar. Of course! Man Sun-hop is the the name of a blind barrister (just another term for lawyer…usually used more in the UK).
As Sun-hop walks outside, he puts his sunglasses back on and takes out a walking cane. At this time his ears perk up as he hears the squealing tires of a van. We get a Daredevil-like moment where the sounds are producing a picture in his head. Sun-hop tries to run away, but he is firmly caught. He yells they have the wrong person, but he is held fast. A young woman with buckteeth and a scar on her left temple walks up and tells them to bring him in.
Sun-hop is taken to a bar called Pledge and thrown onto a seat. The woman referred to as Dean Je (I am not sure if they are using ji or je to mean sister here…) slams her foot on a durian she placed between Sun-hop’s legs and begins cursing him out for not letting her know that he has gotten into trouble. The woman’s full name is Chiu Ching-mui [Sisley Choi] and apparently she is also Sun-hop’s friend and protector. Everyone knows he is under her wing and everyone fears her in Hong Kong (she has some gangster family ties) so why did he make her lose face by not telling her and letting her help? Sun-hop says it was only crossing a red light and not that big of a deal. Besides, this was a court fight not a street fight. Dean slams her foot harder into the durian making it go farther between his legs. Isn’t she also a law clerk? She can help prepare the court documents for him. Sun-hop finally snaps back and rips of his sunglasses to “stare” at her (earlier she complained he wasn’t looking at her or something to that effect) and yells asking her if she intends to hurt him with the durian.
Dean takes a large knife and splits the durian in two between Sun-hop’s legs. he then laughs and her imposing air is gone. Everything is okay since he is fine. She tells her boys to turn up the lights as this is not an interrogation and sits down next to our blind lawyer. She offers him the durian to make up and Sun-hop looks disgusted. His ears twitch and focus in on the sound of a tapping sneaker. Is Fu in trouble? How did Sun-hop know the man asks as he jumps. Because he’s pacing around in the bar. Fu says he has gotten caught carrying a lot of knives in his bag. Dean says that she always takes care of her own people and requests Sun-hop’s help in getting him acquitted. Sun-hop agrees to take on Fu’s case as it will be easy, plus he’ll get his normal fee from Dean. He goes to shake her hand and quickly withdraws, but she catches it and stuff the durian in it while laughing.
In court, Sun-hop and Dean arrive first looking very professional. Sun-hop says his client is running late due to an accident. Fu arrives a bit later wearing his normal clothing and apologizing. Sun-hop has Dean tap out code on his hand. She had given her lackey a suit to appear nice and respectable. Did Sun-hop tell him to wear that instead? Sun-hop makes a gesture and the hearing begins. The officer said he stopped Fu because of his manner of dress and his tattoos. From this alone, he believed the man was up to no good. Besides, it is known Fu has ties to a gang and has been prosecuted for using violence in the past. Why would an innocent man have 16-17 knives on him so late at night?
Sun-hop begins his brutal and methodical teardown of the officer’s testimony. He raises up his suit sleeve and shows off a tattoo. Does this mean he’s a bad person, too? This assumption of judging a book by its cover and a man by prior offenses is not correct. Sun-hop explains that Fu is a chef whose knives are his life’s blood. Fu painstakingly collected thousands of coupons to obtain the knife set from the local market. Why would a violent gangster need to do such things? He turns to the judge and said that even the judge snorted when Fu entered wearing his normal clothes. This is a bias ignoring facts. Needless to say, Fu is acquitted of his supposed crimes.
Dean and Sun-hop go back to Pledge. Sun-hop picks through the kitchen for ingredients while Dean tries to get him to stay and celebrate. Sun-hop says Dean knows what he normally does so it is pointless. She asks him when he got a tattoo. He reminds her his father is in the ministry of finance. The tattoo was only a sticker used for show. He takes his leave after collecting his fee and leaving behind money for the food he took. Dean is livid. All of these years it only money this and money that. Does Sun-hop not take her for a friend at all? She goes to tear up the money he left, but Fu quickly stops her and takes it away.
Our blind lawyer whips up pasta carbonara and settles down to eat with a glass of red wine. The doorbell rings bringing in Dean. She is loaded with bags of groceries and necessities. He must be out of things since he took stuff from the bar, right? She begins putting things away and he also helps. He is livid when he finds a bowl and chopsticks inside. Why are there extras? He has one of everything since he is alone and prefers it that way. Dean says she will join him and digs into his spaghetti. Sun-hop is livid. She has crossed the line. It’s fine if she eats the food that she brought, but she is not allowed to overstep her bounds. After the argument, Dean goes to angrily leave when Sun-hop calls her back. Has he realized how much of a jerk he was being? No. Dean didn’t take her compensation for the groceries and household items. She declares she hates him and rushes out.
The next day Dean is muttering to herself as she brings a case to Sun-hop and throws it at him. It’s right up his alley. A mentally impaired man was caught poisoning stray dogs and his mother asked for a lawyer from Dean’s firm to mitigate for her son. Sun-hop gives the angry woman a present. Dean is touched, although she hides it by complaining she doesn’t eat chocolate. When she opens the package, she gets a rude awakening. It was a gift from a client and Sun-hop was foisting it off on her since he wouldn’t eat it. Ah, these two.
They go out to the countryside where the incident occurred and meet with the man, Sum, who has the mentality of a ten-year-old. Sum is frightened by Dean’s appearance and calls her a monster. Sun-hop angrily scolds him for having no manners and treating the woman poorly who has come to help him. Again, Dean is touched. He did that for her sake, right? Sun-hop says no as he is just that mean to curse at a mentally handicapped man like that. Sum’s mother arrives home and is not pleased to see a blind man handling her son’s case. When Sun-hop yells that eyes are not necessary to be a lawyer, she changes her mind at his good hearing and begs him to mitigate her son’s case. Even she believes her son is guilty (he did confess to poisoning and burying stray dogs).
The two are shown the scene of the crime and the mom explains how Sum was caught red-handed burying a dead dog and there was a lunchbox with rat poison in it that he apparently handled as well. We then see Sum holding a pretty dog and feeding it something. The dog’s owner is furious and the item is taken from her dog’s mouth. Sum’s mother immediately begins berating him while Sun-hop takes a big handful of blueberries from the bag Sum was feeding the dog with and eats them, proving Sum wasn’t poisoning that woman’s dog. The owner doesn’t care and huffs off. Sun-hop then hears Sum mutter that blueberries are safe not grapes. Hearing this, Sun-hop knows Sum is innocent. Plus, how could such a kind an courteous man be a vicious dog killer? He helped Sun-hop and treated him extra well since Sun-hop is blind. He doesn’t want to mitigate the case now, he wants to prove his client’s innocence. Dean leaves him to return to work and Sun-hop explores on his own.
While poking around, Sun-hop discovers the nest of a private eye and follows him into the market. The detective is not happy about this and asks why he is being followed. Sun-hop immediately hugs him and begins feeling him up and down (even fondling his butt!). The other man pushes him away and asks if he is gay. Sun-hop begins listing the things the other man has in his pockets and goes through a list of what he can be. He’s not a paparazzi nor a policeman. He must be a poor private eye. The two sit down in a café and the detective says he is investigating a robbery case and is on the lookout for an injured boss who got away. Thus he is camping out at the edge of town waiting for the man to make contact with his fence. Sun-hop asks for his help in discovering the real dog poisoner since the man’s camp is not far from the dumpsite. The man reluctantly agrees to help as Sun-hop guilts him into it and also offers his help with the detective’s case.
It was funny as during this whole time, the detective kept doing things to Sun-hop to see if he’s really blind, i.e. waving his hand in front of Sun-hop’s face and putting salt into his coffee/tea. Sun-hop, since he has honed his senses since childhood, is aware of everything and is annoyed. He does manage to switch out the coffee so the other man drinks the salt beverage instead. He believes that Sun-hop must be pretending to be blind. Sun-hop takes out his ID card and turns it over. There is his disability in black and white.
The two stakeout the dump and Sun-hop requests the detective pretend to be a dog. First he acts as a dog in heat and then he sounded more like a monkey than a dog, irritating Sun-hop. The detective does goad Sun-hop into showing him what a barking dog sounds like. Night falls with no luck at spotting the real culprit.
Dean returns with food for herself and Sun-hop. The PI eyes her up and down, ticking Dean off. He says she reminds him of his idol. Who? Ronaldhino. She knows that’s an insult. Sun-hop formally introduces her to the PI who is called Kuk Yat-ha [Owen Cheung]. Yat-ha tells Dean to call him GoGo. Sun-hop breaks into his food and GoGo sneaks meat off. Dean watches while Sun-hop does nothing. Angry, she yells at him to stop and to take her. Ummm what? Dean backtracks. Take her food and stop stealing Sun-hop’s. GoGo happily complies while Dean tries to get Sun-hop to share with her with no luck. Poor Dean.
Dean is worried because Sum’s case is only a day and a half away and the real culprit hasn’t shown up. Now what? Sun-hop’s ears twitch and he throws a water bottle at the snoring GoGo’s crotch, nailing him. This wakes him up yelling, but he is silenced by Sun-hop. The criminal has arrived! They see an old man holding his abdomen put a food container down. GoGo takes pictures of the whole thing and then the three check it out. Yes, there is rat poison in the takeout box. Sun-hop believes their culprit and the man that GoGo is looking for are one and the same.
They follow the culprit to a shack in the middle of nowhere and they plant a camera inside. The man takes off his disguise and we see he has a bloody wound. He calls for takeout and GoGo is instructed to pretend to be the delivery boy. He hands over food and the criminal complains it is cold and the wrong order, but eats it anyways. GoGo shows up again and says he mistakenly gave him a container of food he found earlier. The man immediately believes he’s ingested rat poison and GoGo holds him down. Dean and Sun-hop enter and the criminal breaks free and grabs a gun. Dean is quick to douse the lights, but gets shot in her arm. Sun-hop uses his senses and disarms the man with his cane while GoGo gets a hold of him once more.
Dean records the thief’s confession of guilt. Sun-hop and Dean then leave after getting their evidence and promising not to turn the man in. This angers GoGo until Sun-hop said only he and Dean gave their words. Thus GoGo tries to bring the man in, but the felon refuses to go down without a fight and we end this episode with GoGo cornering him outside. The fun thing is GoGo is using a slingshot while the criminal uses a gun. GoGo has the advantage, but the criminal gets the upperhand and gets his mitts on GoGo’s neck demanding to know why he is following him.
I am liking this so far. Sun-hop’s character is dry and very direct. His interactions with Dean and GoGo can be hilarious. I smell a bromance brewing here. Will Sun-hop be able to overcome his fear of relationships thanks to Dean and GoGo or will we get a love interest introduced later? Can’t wait to watch more.
I said earlier that this is a plot akin to Marvel’s Daredevil. Instead of Matt Murdock who has a high moral compass and goes after criminals vigilante-style after losing cases, we have a super lawyer who is not afraid to do anything to get his innocent clients off. No need for vigilanteism here. He takes them down in the court room with his rapid fire speeches. I can’t wait to meet his rival in the courtroom. When will this lawyer appear?