South Korean actor Lee Seung Gi is back on the small screen. The actor, who was last seen in thriller series Mouse in 2021, has finally returned to the rom-com genre with the quirky romance and legal drama The Law Cafe. Starring opposite him is Lee Se Young who is known for her roles in The Korean Odessey, The Red Sleeve. The leads reunite in The Law Cafe after sharing screen space in the fantasy romance drama The Korean Odessey. Kim Seul Gi appears in a supporting role alongside Jo Han Chul as the antagonist. Ahn Dong Goo plays the role of an ex-convict turned barista at Yu Ri’s cafe.
The Law Cafe Review: Lee Seung Gi and Lee Se Young serve chemistry and legal advice in quirky rom-com
Based on web novel by author Noh Seung Ah, The Law Cafe is unlike the mainstream legal dramas. The first two episodes ease into setting the background for the characters. The male lead is Kim Jong Ho (Lee Seung Gi) and the female lead is Kim Yu Ri (Lee Se Young) who have known each other for over 17 years and even dated at one point. They grew apart eventually but reconnected after several years as he becomes her landlord at the cafe. Those two-share great chemistry but are always bickering over trivial matters. Since they both know the law, they often bicker with each other using legal clauses – just like fighting in a courtroom.
The first episode of the drama opens on a lighter note and shows Kim Yu Ri’s out of the box approach to solve the cases. It is only at the end of the second episode that the main pressure point of the leads are revealed. It is connected with Kim Jong Ho leaving his job as a prosecutor, the reason for Yu Ri to take up law and also one of the main cases that the leads will be pitted against in the forthcoming episodes. The drama gets its English title from Yu Ri’s law cafe in the drama, aptly named ‘The Law Cafe’. She quits her job in a law firm and opens up a cafe with an aim to give legal advice over a cup of coffee. The landlord is none other than Jong Ho. Since Jong Ho and Yu Ri have known each other for so long, they also share a common past that largely affected their lives.
The next four episodes delve more towards the epicentre of the story. The leads are introduced to the antagonist of the story, Lee Pyun Woong played by the brilliant Jo Han Chul. Lee Pyun Woong is the corrupt head of Dosan Industries against whom Kim Yu Ri and Kin Jong Ho have filed a lawsuit. At the end of episode five, he makes a surprising visit at The Law Cafe that stuns both Yu Ri and Jong Ho. His visit helps him solve the mystery behind the comic book writer who spilled the dirty secrets. The writer is none other than Jong Ho himself, and a relation of his to Lee Pyun Woong is revealed. The cafe’s barista Seo Eun Gang also harbours a dark past which is revealed at the end of episode six.
The Law Cafe can remind one of the predecessors like Suspicious Partner, but the new cast and the narrative makes it a refreshing watch. The drama has all the classic tropes that one can find in the genre – be it fiery female lead, a righteous male lead, nosy but loving neighbours, and even an immoral and crazy negative character. Lee Seung Gi and Lee Se Young’s chemistry is crackling on screen. The duo plays their roles with a finesse and there’s an ease with which their camaraderie is shown on screen, mostly because they’ve worked previously.
The constant tug of war between their feelings and the angst increases the curiosity of the viewers. No wonder the ratings have seen a gradual increase with each passing week! The comic relief in the show has seen a gradual dip as the narrative takes a severe turn but it is a breath of fresh air nonetheless. The cafe that Kim Yu Ri starts looks similar to the cafe seen in Hometown Cha Cha Cha. The setting of the drama is not in high skyscrapers, but in the small neighbourhood and by-lanes of a city which make it closer to the on-ground reality and relatable for most of the audience.
The Law Cafe is a delightful watch to start the week as it airs on Monday and Tuesday. With episode 7 set to air tonight, the series has ample comic banter and early hints of blooming romance along with a plentiful serving of thrilling legal cases. The leads often break the fourth wall as they address the audience during their narration. This is not often seen in dramas, and it is a welcome experiment for it connects the audience more with the stories. If you want to watch some legal dramas, but not stress over it then The Law Cafe is a good option.
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