The Extraordinary Attorney Woo
Watch it for...
All the good feelings from a show that addresses serious themes, from the way people with autism are treated in society to workplace expectations of women.
The Extraordinary Attorney Woo is a Korean court-room TV series. Woo Young Woo is a new attorney at a top law firm in Seoul. She graduated top of her class, has a photographic memory, and is on the autism spectrum. Each episode follows a case and tackles serious topics like discrimination in the workplace, gender roles in society, and following your moral compass.
Despite the serious undertones, the show remains light and engaging through the eyes of the extraordinary attorney Woo. The character has an incredible perspective and personality that shines through even the darkest moments. A heavy scene will happen, followed by an incredibly endearing and heartwarming moment between two characters that will leave viewers hopeful. Every episode, regardless of the case subject, is guaranteed to have heartwarming moments, a few laughs, and some excellent whale commentary (you’ll know when you watch the show!). An English dub of the show is available, but I recommend watching the original Korean with English subtitles.
As someone with a nephew on the autism spectrum, I really enjoyed seeing a portrayal of an adult with autism in an extremely competitive field like law. Attorney Woo and her success is not necessarily an accurate representation or expectation for individuals on the autism spectrum (which they address at different points in the show), but it does normalize behaviors and address a lot of the stigma surrounding autism. For me, it was validating to see the character act similarly to my nephew, especially in flashbacks to her childhood, and see how the people in her life learn to accommodate her. Just because she is acting in ways that might be considered rude or disinterested by neurotypical people, like not making eye contact when listening, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t care about the people around her. The show does an excellent job of highlighting her perspective and showing how overwhelming the world can feel for people with autism.
While the initial engagement for me was Attorney Woo’s autism, that quickly became a secondary factor. Attorney Woo is a really fun character with a lot of heart, good intentions, and approaches everything with this childlike innocence and creativity. I love seeing her make friends, rise to challenges in her career, and fall in love. Every experience she has makes me as a viewer contemplate the beauty of experiences I've taken for granted. Also, as an American viewer, I feel like I get a little taste of what life is like in South Korea. There are a lot of differences in Korean culture, but a surprising amount of overlap as well. It’s really fun to consider how different issues that pop up in the show, like sexism, would be handled in the US. All in all, I think this is a great watch for anyone looking for something wholesome to get them through the darkness of winter. I’ve literally been recommending it to everyone I know!