“Hierarchy is not just a ladder; it’s a battleground. The standard here is to get your claws dirty if you want to rise up. But Ingrid Yun, the protagonist of “Partner Track,” believes in following a righteous path and playing by the rules. She doesn’t want to impress her seniors with some cheap tricks, sugar-coated words, or a “yes sir” attitude, but wants to make an impact through her hard work. That is indeed Ingrid’s most cherished virtue, which also becomes her biggest hurdle toward her dream of becoming a partner at Parsons Valentine & Hunt, an American law firm.
“Partner Track,” the 10-part Netflix series, presents a very similar world to what we have seen in the famous legal drama series “Suits.” But what makes “Partner Track” stand out is its central protagonist, Ingrid Yun, a first-generation Korean American who not only tries to deal with xenophobia and patriarchy at her workplace (while dealing with M&A cases) but also tries to maintain a life-work balance. The series also focuses on the complicated lives of her two best friends, Rachel Friedman and Tyler Robinson, who work at the same law firm. So Ingrid, along with other young lawyers at Parsons Valentine & Hunt, wants to become a partner at the law firm, but the seats are limited, which leads to cut-throat competition and a series of betrayals from the very close friends who are willing to do anything to get a promotion. So without any further ado, let’s find out whether Ingrid Yun becomes a partner or is betrayed by the person she loves the most.
How Did Ingrid Secure Her Chances to Become a Partner?
Ingrid Yun was a first-generation Korean American lawyer whose parents came to America with only $200 in their pocket. Her parents hustled day and night to give their two daughters the education they deserved. While Ingrid’s younger sister, Marlena “Lena,” was still unsure about her career choices, Ingrid, on the other hand, was focused on becoming a partner at Parsons Valentine & Hunt to make herself and her parents proud. She had graduated number two in her Harvard Law School class, and soon after, she joined Mergers and Acquisitions because that’s where the real power was, she believed. It’s been six years since Ingrid has been working day and night to make her dreams come true, and this year she really wanted to get promoted from being a salaried employee to a junior partner (one who gets a share of the profit and loss of the law firm).
Marty Adler, along with the management committee, exercised the right to announce a junior partner, and thus, Ingrid, along with the others, decided to be in their good books to fulfill their goals. The only way to impress Marty Adler was to crack a huge deal for the law firm, which would eventually earn the partners an enormous profit. Ingrid, along with her arch-rival, Dan Fallon, was waiting for just one opportunity when suddenly, Marty brought in a new deal. Sun Corp, an American energy conglomerate, agreed to pay 2.9 billion dollars for family-owned Min Enterprises. Theodore “Ted” Lassiter, CEO of Sun Corp, had asked Marty to facilitate the acquisition deal and employ his best lawyers on the case. Ingrid and Dan Fallon quickly jumped on the opportunity and assured Marty that they wouldn’t let anything go south.
Dan Fallon had been winning the race to get the deal to his name when, accidentally, he committed one grave mistake. The news of the acquisition had to be kept confidential until both parties had signed the term sheet to initiate the process, but Dan Fallon leaked the information to a friend named Winston Keil, who got drunk at the Plaza party and, under the influence of alcohol, revealed the confidential information to Francine Lidenhoff, a journalist at the Financial Times. Ingrid found out that Francine was running a piece on Sun Corp and Min Enterprises on Monday that could adversely affect the deal. To protect the deal and her chances of promotion, Ingrid assured Marty that she would get the signatures of both parties on the term sheet before the article came out. Both Ted Lassiter and Franklin Min signed the documents to initiate the acquisition process, and that’s how Ingrid successfully secured her position in the multi-billion dollar deal. But even though Ingrid had dealt with Dan Fallon, there was one more person eyeing the massive deal, and that was none other than Jeff Murphy, a recent transfer lawyer from London, with whom Ingrid had a past affair. So did love come on her way to success? In a way, yes.
Did Jeff Murphy Betray Ingrid Yun to Become Her Partner?
Throughout “Partner Track” Season 1, there were a series of hurdles that came in the way of Sun Corp’s acquisition of Min Enterprises. While dealing with these problems, the lost romance between Ingrid and Jeff was rekindled, and so Ingrid made a decision to cheat on her current boyfriend, Nick Laren, with Jeff. Ingrid was never too sure about Nick, to begin with. He did seem perfect for her, yet there was a missing passion in their romance that she couldn’t figure out. Probably, it was that Nick was too rich to understand Ingrid’s ambitions and just wanted to get settled down and turn everything into a fairy tale, while Ingrid wanted to prove herself and become a partner before taking any huge steps in her personal life.
On the other hand, Jeff was career-oriented and ambitious himself and was able to understand why Ingrid weighed the professional life more than the personal one. But what Ingrid cherished the most about Jeff was also one of his darkest flaws. He once told Ingrid that he was on the outside looking in, and from there on, he wove a narrative around his poor background. With the kind of choices that Jeff’s character made, it’s still difficult to believe whether he was telling the truth about his abusive father and mentally ill mother. Jeff’s stories about his family softened Ingrid’s strict demeanor. Jeff’s tears made Ingrid vulnerable, but we had to wonder whether Jeff Murphy was truly feeling the words he was speaking or if he was just faking them over and over.
If we consider that Jeff was not lying but was indeed telling the truth, then his actions in “Partner Track” Season 1 raise a question about his entire hustle. Whether he truly wanted to be an inspiration to the people or if he was just looking out for himself. Being poor is not an excuse to be a bad person with no sense of moral conscience. It is not even an excuse to break someone’s trust and stab them in the back. Ingrid trusted Jeff, but he proved that he wasn’t meant to be trusted by anyone.
To understand what exactly Jeff did, we need to go back to the incidents of Episode 7, at the end of which Ingrid was arrested. Her sister, Lena, had tried to sell Nick’s family earrings in a pawn shop, and judging from the CCTV footage, the white policemen arrested Ingrid. At that moment, Ingrid called Jeff for help, and he finally bailed her out. However, at that moment, Ingrid personally asked Jeff not to disclose the news of the false arrest to Marty Adler as it would influence his decision in the partner announcement that was 2 weeks later. At first, Jeff didn’t snitch upon Ingrid, but when another associate, Hunter Reed, secured the Bearington account for Parsons Valentine & Hunt, Jeff knew that his chances of becoming a partner had become too thin. Marty and the board’s first three preferences were Dan, Ingrid, and Hunter because these major players had brought in huge business for the firm, and thus it was time for Jeff to play dirty if he wanted to rise up the ladder. He told Marty about Ingrid’s arrest, which made him change his decision to make Ingrid a partner at the firm. Of course, that involved a lot of Discrimination too.
At the annual partnership announcement, Marty announced Hunter, Dan, and Jeff as the new junior partners of the firm and totally neglected Ingrid’s efforts and hard work. Ingrid thought Marty hadn’t made her a partner because she was just an Asian woman. However, Marty, at the end of “Partner Track” Season 1, revealed to her that the management made this decision because Ingrid hid the fact that she was arrested. Her actions had broken the firm’s trust, which was why they didn’t make her a partner. He even revealed to her the name of the person who told the truth about her, and it was none other than her lover, Jeff Murphy. The conflict will continue in Season 2.
‘Partner Track’ Season 1: Ending Explained— Why Did Ingrid Help Min Zi-Xin Replace Ted Lassiter?
Even from the very first meeting, the younger son of Franklin Min, Zi-Xin, wanted to know what Ted was going to do with his renewable power resource company, Green Tech, which was incorporated with the aim of bringing more clean energy sources to the world and saving the planet. Ted didn’t reply to Zi-Xin during their first meeting, but later revealed to Marty, Jeff, and Ingrid that he was only buying Min Enterprises because he wanted to shut down Green Tech.
Ted Lassiter had heard about one of Green Tech’s innovations, a new iron-sulfate flow battery that could have become a major threat to gas and oil, which were the major sources of income for Sun Corp. Ted and his partner weighted monetary gains more than the act of saving the planet, as they believed that they would be dead by the time renewable energy would take over, so why invest in the future and suffer loss when one can burn fossil fuels and fill their bank accounts? Ingrid didn’t approve of Ted’s ideology, yet Marty forced her to lie to Zi-Xin about Ted’s plan for Green Tech if she wanted to save the deal and become a partner.
Ingrid got carried away by her own greed and therefore lied to Zi-Xin, who trusted her and agreed to make a deal with Ted. However, soon after the acquisitions, he found that Ingrid had betrayed his trust just like the others. Ingrid felt guilty for her actions but couldn’t do anything as she had just left her job at Parsons Valentine & Hunt because Marty didn’t announce her partner. She felt bad about herself but couldn’t do anything to redeem herself. She lost her job, her dreams, and her friends, and there was nothing left for her. She finally met her best friend, Tyler Robinson, and during the conversation, she realized that she couldn’t change the system, but she could change “the man” sitting in the high position. Ingrid quickly got to Zi-Xin’s office and came up with a plan to get rid of Ted Lassiter as CEO.
Besides Zi-Xin’s Green Tech, there was one more company, NewLeaf, acquired by Sun Corps, that was trying to bring clean energy resources into the world before Ted shut its operation completely. In their quest to depose the evil king, Ingrid, her friends, and the CEOs of Green Tech and NewLeaf pooled their resources to persuade shareholders to vote against Ted Lassiter, but they were still missing a shareholder with a 2 percent stake. At this point, Rachel Friedman suggested her client and friend, Wanda Jean Weaver, buy 2 percent of Sun Corps shares, and with their assembled power, they had a share vote of 50.1 percent, which was enough to pass a motion to kick out Ted at the shareholders meeting. After Ted was removed from the position of CEO, the vice chairman of the company, Franklin Min, passed a motion to replace Ted with his son, Zi-Xin, who would bring new innovations in the field of energy production. The shareholders agreed to the motion, and Zi-Xin was announced as the new CEO of Sun Corps.
By helping Zi-Xin, Ingrid not only brought justice to the company but also redeemed her sins. She always wanted to do the right thing, but Marty and others around her compelled her to take the wrong path to fulfill their agenda and fill their pockets. She believed that money was important for survival but that it wasn’t the end of the world. One has to have a moral duty towards one’s profession, and bringing justice was a part of being a lawyer, which Jeff or Marty might never have realized, but fortunately, Ingrid did. However, by conspiring against Ted, Ingrid had enraged Marty, who tried to threaten Ingrid that he would make sure that she would never get work in any law firm in the town. But suddenly, Zi-Xin intervened and, in a very calm state, told Marty, the frustrated, that he was Sun Corps now, and if Parsons Valentine & Hunt wanted to do business with them, then he wanted Ingrid as their relationship partner. At this very point, Marty told Zi-Xin that Ingrid was arrested for civil disobedience, but even this information didn’t change Zi-Xin’s decision because he had been a protestor himself. Every revolutionary in the world has quite a rap sheet. It is impossible to bring a change in the world without infuriating the ones adamant about it.
What Happened To Rachel Friedman And Tyler Robinson At The End?
Rachel Friedman, the lawyer who worked for the litigation department at Parsons Valentine & Hunt, had an inclination toward playwriting. She even wrote a skit called the “Jargon Man” for the company’s retreat event, after which Mr. Rosenstein, one of the senior partners at the firm, suggested her name for a new writer’s program in “The Syndicate Theatre.” However, Rachel was doubtful whether she wanted to change her career from being a high-paid lawyer to a struggling artist, yet she thought of giving the interview a try. At the end of “Partner Track” Season 1, Rachel was neither selected for the writer’s program nor elected as the partner of the firm because of her low work performance during the year, though the real reason was that she was dating a paralegal, Justin Coleman. The entire office found out about their affair, after which they formed their own judgments regarding the two. However, while helping Wanda Jean Weaver, Rachel came across the New Heights Theatre playwright workshop, which she decided to give a try-finally. Rachel had decided to create a work and learning balance, though she was still unsure about her relationship with Justin. She liked him, but she probably wanted to give her passion a try before pursuing pleasure.
Tyler Robinson, who was handling the Fashion IP at Parsons Valentine & Hunt, had left his job after his colleague Dan Fallon made some really offensive racial remarks, and the management of Parsons Valentine & Hunt didn’t even bother punishing Dan because he brought in huge business for them. After leaving his job, Tyler struggled with his own personal and professional crises and even cheated on his boyfriend with a barman. He gave an interview to a law firm named Hotham and White but witnessed a similar toxic environment at the office. Tyler might have believed that he had started some sort of revolution, but he didn’t have a clear vision of what it was going to be. He was delusional at some points, but a single piece of news brought clarity to his life. Tyler came across the bankruptcy of Queen’s designer, Cara Obscura, after she lost the legal battle with fashion giant, Luxe.
During his time at Parsons Valentine & Hunt, it was Tyler who confidently protected Luxe to increase his chances of getting a promotion. He declared war against Valdo, another fashion designer who raised his voice against Luxe on different media platforms, which was affecting their sales. To win the case, Tyler blackmailed Valdo and forced him to step back, which he had to eventually agree to, or he would have been deported from the US. After witnessing the case of Cara Obscura, Tyler realized that Luxe was indeed bullying the individual fashion designers in order to throw out the competition in the game. As he gained a moral conscience, Tyler decided not to take up the job at Hotham and White but instead to work for Valdo to help him fight against Luxe. He told Valdo that an individual might not have enough shrill in his voice to create a ripple in the world, but a collective union of all the artists would certainly shatter the glasses of the kingdoms of those sitting at the top of the hierarchy. Tyler’s idea to defeat Luxe was very similar to what Ingrid had done against Ted and his capitalist shareholders. At the end of “Partner Track” Season 1, Tyler started working for Valdo to take down Luxe, the legal battle which we will witness in Season 2.
What To Expect From ‘Partner Track’ Season 2?
Both Rachel Friedman and Tyler Robinson had been struggling in their personal relationships, but fortunately, they found their calling at the end of season 1. Rachel decided to give a try to a playwriting workshop, and only Season 2 will reveal to us whether she has the talent to become a successful playwright. However, Rachel’s work at the law firm has already been suffering, and if her classes come in the way of her cases, then it’s quite possible that she may lose her job, as she has been warned by her senior during the partners’ announcement event. If she loses her job at the law firm, then we may see a struggling artist of sorts, a phase that Rachel has been running away from for so long. It has been repeated so many times that it’s quite obvious now that she is indeed going to end up being a struggling artist. However, it is only after a certain downfall that the artist gets a chance to rise again. During her tragic times, Justin Coleman may become that supportive boyfriend who will help Rachel concentrate on her art rather than the rent, as Justin, being a rich lad, has already been supporting a lot of struggling artists. Plus, he is preparing for his law admission test, which means we can assume that he will become a lawyer too in “Partner Track” Season 2, but only if he doesn’t decide to follow his passion and become a camp director.
Tyler Robinson, who has started working for Valdo, will properly prepare for a legal battle against the Luxe. He always wanted to bring a change in society but has been blindly following the materialistic path. But after his termination, Tyler got some time to reflect on the decisions he had made in his life and figure out what he really wanted. We will probably see a more evolved Tyler in “Partner Track” Season 2, who will try to revolutionize the fashion industry and become a symbol of inspiration for many other lawyers.
Last but not least, Ingrid finally finds out the truth about why she wasn’t made a partner at the firm. Jeff Murphy, her lover, betrayed her to get her job, and Ingrid is likely to confront him in “Partner Track” Season 2. However, it wouldn’t affect Jeff much as he is quite arrogant and focused on his personal growth and doesn’t really care about anything else. But as Zi-Xin told Marty Adler that he only wanted Ingrid to be his relationship partner, we can assume that Ingrid and Jeff will probably have to work in the same office under the same roof, and that may lead to some romantic tension between them. Speaking of romance, Zi-Xin also seemed very much interested in Ingrid, which could mean they could have an affair, and it may lead to a serious relationship or make things even more complicated. Season 2, if Netflix renews it, is probably going to be as interesting as the first one, and we are really looking forward to finding out how Ingrid is going to deal with Jeff.
“Partner Track” is a 2022 Drama Romantic Series created by Georgia Lee. The series is based on the book written by Helen Wan.