‘Divorce Attorney Shin’ Episode 1: Recap & Ending, Explained: Does Shin Sung Han Drop Lee Seo Jin’s Case?


What is it about k-drama humor? How funny we find a joke depends upon its context, and that has forced us to consider: is that the magic formula for K-dramas? Two American men exchanging insults is never as funny as two Korean men doing the same. Two English women cussing at each other does not have the same effect as two Korean ahjummas praying for doom to fall on the other’s family. Maybe it is our perception of the politeness and manners of Korean culture that makes such interactions so funny, which brings us back to what we said before about context. Episode 1 of “Divorce Attorney Shin” had two particular scenes: one where Shin Sung Han and Jang Hyeong Geun are fighting over some kimchi and another where our dear attorney Shin is listening to some music. One was an example of grown men being petty, and another was about the freedom to express one’s eccentric tastes in solitude.

Maybe the point we are trying to make is that Korea has cracked the code of non-offensive humor to a good extent. From what we know of their social climate, we understand that political correctness is of paramount importance. Normally, one would assume that it would stifle creativity, but in the case of South Korea, it has led to an understated yet effective type of creative expression. A perfect example of this would be “Welcome to Waikiki” or the over-the-top Bollywoodized humor of “Vincenzo.” However, “Divorce Attorney Shin” seems to have taken a subtler route. Bringing out the humor in innocent interactions is an art that we did not know we needed and which K-dramas have provided us with abundance (getting flashbacks of ‘True Beauty’). When starting this drama about a divorce attorney, we were expecting some loud gags with the couples fighting, in addition to some good old-fashioned misogyny. But the series surprised us by making it more about the attorney than anything else. It is still the first episode of “Divorce Attorney Shin,” so maybe we shouldn’t judge it so soon. But we are certainly hopeful for what is to come.

Spoilers Ahead

Shin Sung Han’s Case Takes Up Lee Seo Jin

Why did we get the feeling that Shin Sung Han is a lonely man? We are not saying it in a negative way, but we feel that he has voluntarily chosen solitude as a way to avoid facing something in his past. Did we just make it evident that we haven’t read the webtoon? We will get to it soon.

Shin Sung Han might just be an old-fashioned man, at least as per his sense of aesthetics. He does mention that he likes traditional Korean decor. Similarly, he likes working while listening to classical music and is unwilling to change the door to his office that keeps getting stuck. And we hope we are right in assuming that most of his meals seem to be things he can microwave and eat. We now know that while the average time to clear the bar exam is four years, Sung Han has done it in two years. We don’t believe he likes to take on particularly tough cases, as he refuses Lee Seo Jin’s case when she first comes to him. But Sung Han either has a soft spot for children or has some issues related to his mother because when he comes to know that Seo Jin wants nothing but custody of her child, his heart melts, and he agrees to fight her case.

Lee Seo Jin has an abusive husband, and in the past year, she had an affair outside her marriage. Unfortunately for her, the boyfriend recorded a video of their time together, which has since been leaked online. As if that wasn’t enough, it was during that time that her son had run into some trouble at school, and the teachers had been unable to contact Seo Jin. Her husband’s attorney points this out and questions whether Lee Seo Jin is fit to take care of her child.

Attorney Shin Sung Han retorts by pointing out that Seo Jin’s husband was a controlling man who often left abusive messages for her around the house while insisting on keeping track of her every moment. In fact, the latter was the reason most of her friends had cut her off. Sung Han points out that just because Seo Jin cheated doesn’t make it okay for her tape to be circulated on the internet, and she shouldn’t be victimized twice for circumstances out of her control. The opposition’s entire case hangs on the argument that the tape of Seo Jin is still circulating on the internet, and if Hyeon U sees it in the future, it could affect him negatively.

‘Divorce Attorney Shin’ Episode 1: Ending Explained: Did Shin Sung Han Drop Lee Seo Jin’s Case?

Shin Sung Han decides that his next step must be to speak with Hyeon U. We see that the boy draws a picture in class where he shows as if his mother is always absent from his life. When he gets back in the car with his father, the latter asks him whether he had done what he had told him to, meaning that the father is manipulating his son to turn the divorce proceedings in his favor. Later, when Sung Han goes to meet the boy, he takes him to a nearby burger joint to try to get him to open up. Before we say anything more, we want to ask why a small child followed an unknown adult into a restaurant. Aren’t all Asian kids drilled with the fear of being kidnapped right from a young age? Either way, Hyeon U tells Sung Han that he plays games to get rid of stress. Sung Han is surprised that a small child would have reason to develop coping mechanisms to escape stress. He tries to ask him whether Hyeon U would like to live with his mother or his father, and the child replies that he hates his mother because she did not come to the hospital. Sung Han grasps that something happened to Hyeon U that day.

That night, at Hyeon U’s house, he has a nightmare, and when his father tries to call for help, he smashes his phone. They get him admitted to the hospital regardless, and a tearful Seo Jin calls Sung Han, wanting to withdraw the case since she doesn’t want her child to go through more trauma. But attorney Shin tells her to take care of her son and eat her fill at a good restaurant because he plans to take the case out of mediation and into a full-blown trial. Shin Sung Han has figured out something about the case, and he is going to make sure that justice is served at all costs.

Final Thoughts

The episode of “Divorce Attorney Shin” was a breeze. As we said, it is rather well-written, and we are chewing out our nails at the cliffhanger. It is such that we are actually unable to guess what could be in episode 2. However, if we took a wide margin, we would say that Hyeon U’s father has somehow manipulated and abused him while painting his mother as the victim. The truth of the matter will no doubt be revealed in the next episode, but in addition to that, we are also going to see some of Sung Han’s past. It’s really quite a long wait until “Divorce Attorney Shin” Episode 2.

See More: ‘Divorce Attorney Shin’ Episode 2: Recap And Ending, Explained – Who Are Ha Yul And Gi Yeong?

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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