Prosecutor Princess


Reviewed by: sukting

July 22, 2012

Rating: three

Foreword
Ma Hui Li 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. Through her conflicts with senior colleagues and struggles with difficult cases, Hui Li gradually matures into a brilliant prosecutor with a sense of duty and justice.

She was overweight in the past, but with hard training overseen by her mother, she grows to have a perfect figure. With practice on several cases, she gains experience and gets the nickname Mata Hari. This drama covers her life and her relationship with two men.

Story/Introduction on characters
1. Kim So Yeon as Ma Hui Li
She is a junior Prosecutor from Midland Prosecutor's Office. She is also the daughter of CEO Ma of Dongbang [Eastern] Architecture. She has the beauty and a body of an actress. She passed the Bar Exam – with tears – she is actually more keen in fashion design but has to follow her father’s wish.

She is raised in a wealthy family. Under her mother's maintenance, she studies and gets good grades without any goals or personal worries. She has an IQ of 168, plus excellent concentration and memorization skills but lacks PR skills.

Her hobbies are shopping and beauty care. She knows when all the new name-brand lines come out. If she sees pretty clothes or accessories just out on the market, she must buy them. At one point, she thinks her main interest is fashion and transfers to Fashion Design. But her father catches her and she has to return to law in order to avoid being kicked out of the house.

She has the chance to experience the life of the poor. Initially, all her colleagues avoid her at work and calls her a scatterbrain when she doesn’t check her facts properly. She must knock off on the dot to spend her time shopping. That annoys the rest as they have tons of work to complete. Ren You gets close to her and she doesn’t know that he has planned every move. He even moves next to her – sigh – if he has evil designs on her, she is doomed from the start.

She develops a sense of justice along the way and becomes serious on the job. All see her in a different light and starts to accept her. She is totally affected upon knowing what her father has done. She still gets him to surrender as her happiness is built on Ren You’s misery. Although her father advises her to resign due to her case, she is determined to stay on to face the consequences. Both work to clear each other’s fathers’ innocence.

She has to do is prosecute as she is taught. She stays and is now devoted to her job. I don’t exactly like how Hui Li is portrayed to be a nitwit in the beginning. The daring way that she tries to make advances towards Shi Jun is very scary. She is puzzled why he doesn’t like her since she is so pretty. The poor man is actually tortured by her face who resembles his dead wife too much to avoid her glances. Luckily, So Yeon portrays enough depth otherwise Hui Li will remain as a bimbo.

2. Park Shi Hoo as Xu Ren You
He is the Principal Attorney of Haneul "sky" Law Office. He graduates from an American university and becomes a lawyer. He helps those who can't deal with the Korea law. No one knows his past – Hui Li never even asks when he befriends her. Shi Jun has to remind her. In fact, he gets close to her for a purpose. Seeing her being isolated by her colleagues, he helps her to solve a case. He is sharp and brilliant. He is very eloquent and seems playful but has a dark side.

He can’t forget his painful past as his father is framed by Xiang Tai for killing and he dies in prison. His mother dies of a car accident while both are in US when she intends to forget the past to bring him up. Thus, he is adopted into another family and he never forgets to want to clear his father’s name.

He is careful and good at reading people's minds. He tries his best to win his clients' lawsuits by using his network. He is warm towards the innocent as he has been through the suffering himself. He acts as legal aid on behalf of the powerless. He is tormented to hurt Hui Li to let her know about her father’s past and keeps his promise to Xiang Tai to leave her as he surrenders himself. Yet, he can’t help missing her and returns to Korea to stay in her same apartment. Both patch up in the end.

Shi Hoo’s performance is fine but not as fantastic as ‘Family of Glory’. He comes across convincing as a lawyer. His character gets too melodramatic towards the end and too obliging towards Xiang Tai. This is puzzling as he is supposed to be firm all along.

3. Han Jung Soo as Yoon Shi Jun
He is the Chief Prosecutor of the public office. Tall and handsome, he is nicknamed "The Gregory Peck of the Prosecutor World." He is capable and cold but wins the respect from the others. He loses his wife to cancer 3 years ago and has a 7-year-old daughter. He is more traumatized by his wife's death than one would think. He works like crazy due to his strong sense of justice and passion.

His wife supports him quietly. When she dies, he is not at her deathbed as he is after a criminal who slips away. His guilt can’t be reduced and he concentrates on his work even more. This is the same criminal that appears at the shoes audition that Hui Li goes after getting away from her graduation. He is stunned to see Hui Li as she resembles his wife in looks.

He is grateful to Zhen Shan and her mother for raising his daughter safely. He doesn’t know that Zhen Shan likes him. He treasures her as a trustworthy junior colleague and nothing else. He is very strict with Hui Li, who looks a lot like his wife but doesn't act like her at all. However, he also understands her for treating it as another job. When everyone gives up on her, he gives her chances.

When that makes her fall for him and she tries asking him out, he resists. He is afraid that he is only treating her as his wife’s substitute. But later, he accepts her feelings. As they proceed, the more he feels letting down Zhen Shan. Observing how Hui Li suffers over Ren You, he learns that she is only worshipping him as an idol.

He accepts Zhen Shan but he has never said that he loves her. Zhen Shan wonders if he is cool as he is going to get married for the second time 4 months later. He proposes to Zhen Shan to make her delighted – through putting a ring on a teddy bear. Jung Soo acts well as this professional man who is tormented by his sad past.

4. Choi Song Hyun as Jin Zhen San
She is Hui Li’s senior colleague. She is very dedicated to her job. The rest call her older sister as well as "Double Blade" as she is very sharp. She becomes a prosecutor because her father loses all his money to a con and dies of rage. She helps to look after Bin and secretly loves Shi Jun.

But Hui Li becomes her love rival. She can’t stand her being outrageous in dressing and work to point out to her. To her, Hui Li is not suitable to be a prosecutor. She herself only wears suits and pants to work. She also looks strict with her dark-rimmed glasses. She is dismayed when Hui Li courageously makes moves on Shi Jun when she doesn’t dare to tell him. She has no dating experience and is about to explode to pieces because of Hui Li. She has been waiting for his wounds to heal.

She doesn’t know how to express herself. To please her mother, she pretends to go for a date. Bin then sends the photos of her enjoying the cherry blossoms. This is when Shi Jun starts to get attracted by her and keeps a photo on his laptop. He has finally accepted her. Her role is quite dull and I don’t see her attending court. She is more like a legal assistant in helping Shi Jun.

5. Yoo Gun as Lee Min Suk
He is handsome, young and talented. He feels remorseful for posting Hui Li’s old photo on his blog when his junior sent to him. She is also Hui Li’s classmate. He can’t believe that she is the one although the looks are similar. Soon, the whole unit gets to know about it and many pinpoint Hui Li – she has the cheek to laugh at others going through plastic surgery but she herself goes through a strict regime to change too.

6. Park Jung Ah as An Zhen Ni
She is Ren You's friend and is also an international lawyer. She is Korean but is also adopted into the U.S. as an infant. She meets Ren You when he came to live with an adoptive father and enrols in her middle school. She finds out about his past, which is more painful than being abandoned by her biological parents.

They are then as close as siblings. When Ren You decides to leave for Korea to complete his mission, she follows to help him. She lures Hui Li indirectly into the case. Seeing Ren You about to give up, she gets frustrated and sends the murder documents to Zhong Xiu to make sure that the case is open. She wants justice to be done and reminds him that he should not forget how his father has suffered.

Seeing how Ren You suffers, she tries to bring the two together again. She is so intelligent and pretty – how I wish Ren You will choose her instead of Hui Li.

7. Choi Sung Ho as Chae Ji Woon
He is another senior prosecutor. He prefers to listen to others and doesn’t like Hui Li too. He doesn’t have a mind of his own at times and will evade as much trouble as he can.

8. Lee Eun Hee as Lee Tai En
She is sent to be Hui Li’s secretary. She protests in vain but soon finds her dedicated. She is then pleased to work under her.

9. Lee Seung Hyung as Che Ming Zhu
The legal assistant sent to help Hui Li. As a man, he hates the laces and overly feminine decoration that Hui Li has done to her office and he is also forced to handle the girlish stationary as well. Like Tai En, he also detects the change in her and is contented when she finally gets down to simple design now.

10. Kim Sang Ho as Nan Zhong Xiu
He is the head of the prosecution office. He almost gives up hopes on Hui Li who is a spendthrift and often escapes from her duty. He totally isolates her from the rest and is peeved that this dummy doesn’t know it to even request more cases for her. However, like Shi Jun, he also gives her opportunities and is pleased to see her development over time.

11. Choi Jung Woo as Ma Xiang Tai
He is Hui Li’s father who owns a big construction company. He wants her to be a prosecutor to climb up the corporate ladder so that she can find a good family to marry into. When knowing what happens to her at work, he confiscates all her branded stuff and chases her to move out so that she can be more independent. This is how she learns through the hard way.

There is one thing I don’t understand. He accidentally kills someone in the past and frames Ren You’s father for it – so why does he still try so hard to get Hui Li the job? Doesn’t he feel afraid that she might check on him one day? Ren You’s father is his worker sent to convince the residents to move out of the land. All but one consent as he wants more money.

Xiang Tai sighs – Ren You’s father isn’t as capable as Ren You to get tricked easily. When his deed is exposed, he becomes a bankrupt and closes his company. He forbids the two to be together at first but seeing how they miss each other, he gives them his consent.

12. Yang Hee Kyung as Piao Ai Zi
She is Hui Li’s mother who is plump and kind-hearted. She doesn’t want Hui Li to look like her so she is very strict in helping her to lose weight. She feels sorry for Ren You for losing his parents at a young age and treats him well. She is pleased that he is Hui Li’s boyfriend.

She has no son and is pleased when he calls her ‘Ma mother’. Even after Xiang Tai gets acquitted and penniless, she is still strong. They move into a smaller place and she opens a bakery. With her eloquence, their business is good and Xiang Tai becomes the baker.

13. Min Young Won as Lee Ying Na
She opens an eatery and Ren You approaches her as a writer. Seeing her always being bullied by her married boyfriend, Wan Zhe, he often helps her. He actually gets close to her for a good reason. Xiang Tai has approached Wan Zhe when he commits the murder at 9pm to be his time witness.

Ying Na is also present to provide them drinks and Wan Zhe tells her to lie to the police that both men are together for drinks since 9pm onwards. Ying Na has seen blood stains on Xiang Tai’s trousers but still lies to the police. Seeing how Ren You helps her, she decides to help him back.

14. Lee Jong Suk as Lee You Xian
He is Prosecutor Yin’s assistant. He is observant in uncovering evidence. Seeing Hui Li clueless over how worried Shi Jun over her, he tells her how Shi Jun tries helping her. Shi Jun even helps to delete her photos when she is detained in the police station for drinking with a minor at a pub. That case nearly costs her job.

15. Sung Byung Sook as Han Mi You
She is Zhen Shan’s mother who doesn’t understand why she must take care of Bin. Many have mistaken her to be Zhen Shan’s daughter. Knowing that Zhen Shan likes Shi Jun, she helps to hide all her pant suits so that she can get dressed in a skirt to work. Indeed, this causes a big commotion as all have not seen her in that before. She is shy to reveal her legs and has problems walking. Have a good laugh when Shi Jun can’t control himself from smiling upon seeing her in this manner that he has to carry her to his car.

16. Kim Ji Won as Yin Bin
She is Shi Jun’s daughter. Unlike Shi Jun, she isn’t affected much by Hui Li’s looks to root for Zhen Shan instead. She doesn’t even tell Shi Jun about Hui Li going to meet him to make her wait in vain. But she treats Hui Li better when Hui Li gives her an ipad for her birthday.

17. Sun Woo Jae Duk as Gao Wan Zhe
He is Xiang Tai’s accomplice in crime. Xiang Tai shuts him up by providing him a building. This man is jobless and keeps asking Ying Na for money. However, the building collapses due to poor construction. Xiang Tai has a headache when this case is checked. Hui Li investigates and is stunned when Wan Zhe’s wife provides her with a photo of Wan Zhe walking into a hotel with Ying Na at 9pm on the day of the murder. That means that both men are lying.

18. Baek Seung Hyun as Shi Dong Ji
He is a florist and Ren You often gets flowers from him to pay respects to his parents by the river. He is grateful to Ren You for helping him to clear his son’s name when he is accused for hitting a rapist. Ren You helps to find the woman to testify against the man. Ren You finds him for a purpose too. He is a security guard then upon seeing Ren You’s father calling the police through the window.

He has not seen him committing murder but finds the money that Xiang Tai intends to give the victim on the spot to force him to move out of the land. However, he doesn’t get to use the money too as Xiang Tai secretly uses his own money to pay for his son’s heart operation fee. He keeps the suitcase all along and sends it to Shi Jun to test for prints to prove Xiang Tai’s innocence that he is not convicted for murder.

Interesting facts
The ratings were from 7 to 12%. Early working title for the drama series was "Yeogeumsa Matahari" (lit. translation "Female Prosecutor Mata Hari"). "Prosecutor Princess" features the same director (Jin Hyeok) & screen writer (So Hyeon-Kyeong) from 2009's hit SBS drama series "Brilliant Legacy". Kim So Yeon won top 10 star awards in SBS drama awards.

Many were surprised by Hui Li’s working pass. As she doesn’t stick to the rules and is very different from her seniors, she didn’t tie her hair when taking her photo. For most countries, we were supposed to wear a black suit with a white shirt to tie with a tie to show our ears for a clear photo. Her photo showed her wavy hair and dresses in a colourful dress. Many questioned how this could pass in a public organization. But maybe the director wanted her to be different from the rest.

Moreover, many were too used to see So Yeon as a beautiful and cool woman. To turn into a bob hairstyle and a simple-minded person was a challenge? Will viewers still like her as a shopping queen? So Yeon explained that Hui Li was a curious person as she did not only ask for a perfect outlook. She also had a wound to heal on her past as a plump person to be ridiculed. Many should be able to notice her progress as the drama develops.

During the promotion, Shi Hoo confessed that he also struggled with the ‘cunning’ and ‘liberal’ parts. He must drink a cup of red wine before sleeping. He is an introvert all along but his personality will transform after a drink and liquor did help. He confessed that he could not drink well and when he had a sip, he would develop the role on his own and remember his lines even better.

But if he drank more than one cup, he would sleep immediately. He praised So Yeon for being beautiful even without makeup. There was a scene where Hui Li was bathing and he saw her clean face.

Most favourite character
Ren You, he is kind and helpful. Although he has motives in helping others, he has their interests at heart too. The next is Shi Jun, he is careful in seeking for the truth. That is why he wants Hui Li to be careful in her work and not to jump into conclusions easily.

Most hated character
Hui Li – she is really a troublemaker and thinks that all men should be attracted by her! I can understand why Zhen Ni and Zhen Shan dislike her initially. She doesn’t only stand in their way in getting the man they love. She also steps on their toes, irritating them repeatedly. And to see how much trouble she has created for her colleagues in the beginning – one will wonder how and why she isn’t fired – because she is rich or they think she has potential?!

Song
The theme song is Fly High by Shinee. It is a very nice song and is pleasant to listen to.

Conclusion
I can’t accept how Hui Li behaves from the start. Will a prosecutor be like this? She doesn’t even check every case in detail and is only too eager to knock off on the dot. Can you imagine how criminals get off the hook and the innocent do not get to clear their name if Shi Jun doesn’t check on them as her superior? Despite what her colleagues tell her, she doesn’t understand, how can they put the message across to her? I really have no idea. It goes in line with ‘Legally Blonde’.

The beginning cases are quite interesting. I look forward to a cliff hanger for the ending part but alas – it is not meant to be. It dwells too much on how the two suffer due to their fathers. That takes about 4 long episodes! It is simply too testing on one’s patience. Hui Li regards herself as an innocent party and expects Ren You to say sorry for what he has done to her. Sigh – her father is in the wrong all along and it takes a long time for her to discover how he has suffered.

The part where Shi Jun likes Zhen Shan is also ended abruptly. It is like cooking instant noodles. We have seen how he shows affections for Hui Li but doesn’t know how to express himself. The part when he pats her back and holds her hand when she gets seasick is quite sweet. But when turning to Zhen Shan, I have no clue when he starts liking her. It is like he gets ditched by Hui Li so he gets a substitute immediately.

Plus, both of them are quite a boring pair with zero romance. He doesn’t show reluctance when Zhen Shan is going to be transferred out. To think that Zhen Shan isn’t missing him that much but worries who will take care of Bin! Shi Jun has to tell her that he will leave Bin with her in Busan! Oh gosh – is she only a childgiver to him so that he can concentrate on his career? How can this happen? And will they live apart after marriage – the drama doesn’t disclose the ending.

I feel that the supporting roles on the other prosecutors and assistants have little development. They only walk in and out of the office, providing little purpose. If SBS is going to shoot a sequel, I hope there will be stories on them. The clerks are dedicated and more can be written on them on how they help their bosses.

Sukting’s ratings :
On acting : *** (Scale of 5)
On story : *** (Scale of 5)
On song : **** (Scale of 5)


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