Divorce Attorney Shin (2023) Summary: A pianist-turned-lawyer navigates the complex world of divorce — fighting for his clients to win by any means necessary.
Ep 1 The Inevitable Karma
Ep 2 Mr. Competent
Ep 3 Nightmare
Ep 4 New Employee
Ep 5 The Awkward Case
Ep 6 When the Past Creeps In
Ep 7 Declaration of War
Ep 8 Turn the Situation Around
Ep 9 Bold Decision
Ep 10 Too Easy Case
Ep 11 Words as Weapons
Ep 12 The Last War
Rated: 15+ Rating : 4/10 Avg TV Rating: 6.6%
Ep 1 The Inevitable Karma
Shin Sung-han (played by Cho Seung-woo), a successful divorce lawyer who leads a lavish lifestyle. He drives a sleek black Porsche Cayenne, and resides in a luxury apartment. Sung-han also has a passion for singing.
One day, Lee Seo-jin (played by Han Hye-jin), a well-known radio host, visits Sung-han at his office. She seeks his legal counsel in her recent divorce case after her husband filed for divorce.
Sung-han initially turns down Seo-jin’s request because he believes that winning the case will be difficult. Clips of Seo-jin’s affair have leaked online, making it challenging to prove her innocence. However, Sung-han agrees to take the case after Seo-jin emphasizes her desire to keep custody of her son.
Later on, Seo-jin reveals to Sung-han that her husband is an extremely jealous and controlling man. He has been harassing her for the past seven years by leaving demeaning Post-it notes around the house. Some of the notes accuse Seo-jin of being promiscuous, while others suggest that she is trying to seduce other men.
Seo-jin’s husband also forces her to take a photo every thirty minutes when she attends parties, which embarrasses her friends. As a result, no one wants to invite her to events anymore. Even her closest friend from high school did not invite her to their wedding. To make matters worse, Seo-jin’s husband installed CCTV cameras throughout their apartment, even in the dressing room, to monitor her every move.
During the child custody mediation hearing, Seo-jin’s husband’s attorney brings up a previous incident where Seo-jin failed to attend a parent’s meeting, causing her son Hyeon-u to be disappointed in his mother. The disappointment caused Hyeon-u to run away from school and get injured while climbing the school fence. Despite the teacher’s efforts to contact Seo-jin, she could not be reached.
Seo-jin is reminded of the incident and realizes that she was living with her mistress in a hotel on that day.
To make matters worse, the husband’s attorney also brings up the leaked clip and highlights Hyeon-u’s emotional distress. Despite both parties’ efforts, no solution is found during the mediation hearing. The committee decides to have Hyeon-u undergo a mental test before the next hearing.
Meanwhile, Song-han seeks the most crucial answer – he needs to know whom Hyeon-u wants to live with, his father or mother.
One day, he meets Hyeon-u in front of his elementary school and strikes up a conversation. After a while, he asks the third-grader whom he wants to be with between his parents. But the answer that comes from Hyeon-u’s mouth leaves Sung-han unsettled: “I want to erase my memory…I hate my mom. She didn’t pick up the phone from the teacher. I want to erase my mother from my memory.” The little boy cries before walking away.
Sung-han feels deep discomfort with this case, and above all, he pities the children who inevitably become the victims of their parents’ karma. He realizes there is no easy way to handle this.
One night, Hyeon-u has a breakdown and goes berserk. He screams through the house, cries uncontrollably, and struggles to breathe. Seo-jin and her husband take Hyeon-u to the hospital.
Upon seeing her son’s condition, Seo-jin calls Sung-han in tears and begs him to stop the case. She cannot bear to see her child suffer anymore. However, Sung-han refuses to budge and advises Seo-jin to file a lawsuit, confidently declaring, “We will win the case.”
Ep 2 Mr. Competent
Seo-jin wants to put an end to the lawsuit to spare her son Hyeon-u any more distress. But Sung-han remains steadfast in his belief that they must continue with the case and win it.
The story carries on until the day of the court hearing. Both sides present evidence to argue why they should have the right to raise the child. Then Sung-han directs a question to Seo-jin’s husband, and he finally confesses in court that he showed Hyeon-u a leaked video clip of Seo-jin.
Seo-jin is shocked to hear this as she never wanted her son to see that awful clip.
Overcome with rage, Seo-jin leaps out of the defendant’s seat and marches over to her husband. She slaps him hard across the face, sending his glasses flying off. A moment later, Seo-jin collapses unconscious to the floor.
In the end, Seo-jin wins the case. At home that day, she kneels in front of Hyeon-u and apologizes, admitting that she was wrong. Hyeon-u embraces his mother as they both weep, trying to ease each other’s pain.
Ep 3 Nightmare
Park Ae-ran had been working as a cleaner in the building where Sung-han Law Firm is located for over two years. Today, she seeks divorce counseling and wants a share of the property, which happens to be the building where she works. However, there’s a problem – the building is owned by her oppressive mother-in-law, who has been tormenting her for over two decades. Despite enduring this for so long, Park Ae-ran finally snapped a few days ago and slapped her mother-in-law in the face after the latter said hurtful things to her daughter.
Upon hearing the story of housekeeper Park Ae-ran, Sung-han initially considers denying her request to claim a share of the property, as he often opts for cases with a high likelihood of success. However, considering that Ae-ran has been the building’s housekeeper for over two years, Sung-han decides to investigate further with the help of his friends.
After conducting the investigation, Sung-han discovers that Park Ae-ran’s mother-in-law dominates and acts stubbornly, always insisting on being right in every situation. In contrast, Ae-ran is described as a hardworking and diligent worker who tirelessly works from dawn until night.
After hearing more from Park Ae-ran, Sung-han learns that her husband was the one who originally purchased the building. However, he began to struggle financially and decided to transfer ownership to his mother. There are certificates and audio recordings that prove he was the true owner. Despite her husband’s financial troubles, the building remains in the mother-in-law’s name to this day.
The Jammed Door Rail
As Seo-jin visits Sung-han’s office, she expresses her desire to apply for a job regardless of salary. She explains that she needs a full-time job to comply with the court orders for child custody. However, Sung-han can only laugh in denial as the three existing employees are still idle. “As you can see, our office isn’t that busy,” he says.
Seo-jin smiles softly at Sung-han and proceeds to fix the jammed door rail. The door had been broken for a long time, but Seo-jin’s skilled hands restored it to good working order. “Let me help with trivial tasks like this,” she says.
The same night, Sung-han wakes up in the middle of the night after having a dream about his deceased sister. He cries out and curls up, clenching his hands tightly around the blanket.
Ep 4 New Employee
Seo-jin pays another visit to Sung-han’s office to apologize for her previous request to work, acknowledging that it was inappropriate. However, due to the stress of her job search, Sung-han ultimately decides to offer Seo-jin a job.
Sung-han arranges a meeting with Park Ae-ran to discuss the case. He informs her of his plan to file a lawsuit against her mother-in-law for defamation. Sung-han stresses the importance of Ae-ran denying ever hitting her mother-in-law. He then presents his fabricated story, stating that the mother-in-law had pushed Ae-ran, causing her to fall backward. However, rumors are spreading that Ae-ran had hit her mother-in-law, leading them to sue for defamation.
Ae-ran is taken aback by Sung-han’s lie, but he reminds her that her mother-in-law’s false claim of owning the building was also a lie. Upon hearing this, Ae-ran agrees to go along with Sung-han’s plan.
In the divorce mediation room, as negotiations continue, Park Ae-ran suddenly feels guilty for lying and confesses that she actually beat her mother-in-law, due to being persecuted for twenty years. Sung-han takes that moment to bring up the building that her husband temporarily transferred to his mother. When Park Ae-ran’s husband hears this, he feels pity for his wife, who has been consistently working hard for twenty years. He presents evidence proving that the building is actually his.
In the end, the story has a happy ending. The husband feels guilty, and the mother-in-law, upon learning the truth, also feels guilty. She bursts into tears and thanks Park Ae-ran for all the times she had warm meals, thanks to her. Park Ae-ran kneels down in front of her mother-in-law and apologizes for her past behavior.
The story of Park Ae-ran’s family ends on a positive note, and she understands the reason Sung-han made her lie.
Back at the office, Sung-han decides to expand the consultation room to create a new office. Seo-jin suggests that she filters clients before they reach Sung-han to increase his chances of winning cases and attract more clients. She also advises him to hire more lawyers, but Sung-han disagrees.
Soon after, lawyer Choi-joon, who had represented Park Ae-ran’s husband, resigned from a national law firm to apply for a position at Sung-han Law Firm. Sung-han declines his application, citing a lack of cases to justify hiring more lawyers.
However, Choi-joon reveals that he owns the YouTube channel where clips of Sung-han playing the piano were posted. Upon hearing this, Sung-han lunges at Choi-joon and grabs him by the collar. His hand is poised to strike, and Choi-joon’s eyes widen in shock.
Ep 5 The Awkward Case
Sung-han furiously shakes his head at Choi-joon. The latter had secretly filmed Sung-han playing the piano without permission and then posted the clip online. However, after some negotiation, Sung-han reluctantly agrees to hire Choi-joon in exchange for the clip’s deletion.
Sung-han decides to appoint Seo-jin as the chief adviser due to her past experience as a well-known DJ. He believes that her skills in listening will be beneficial in the role.
Afterward A customer seeks advice from Sung-han regarding a delicate situation. The customer is a mistress involved with a retired man who wants to divorce his legal wife. The mistress claims that the man is suffering from liver cancer and requires a transplant, which she is willing to donate. However, the law stipulates that the donor and recipient must be married, which they are not. The legal wife is refusing to divorce the man, as she hopes to receive a substantial life insurance payout upon his death.
Sung-han remains undecided about whether to accept the case or not, due to the fact that both parties are adulterers. He recognizes that this would make it challenging to win the case in court.
As Sung-han contemplates whether to take on the previous case, he is interrupted by a 15-year-old boy who requests a meeting. The boy implores Sung-han to help him get his father a liver transplant, as he has studied the law and knows that sons aged 15 and over can donate organs to their fathers.
After careful consideration, Sung-han decides to take on the case. He meets with the retired man and advises him on the course of action. “I had to think long and hard about whether to accept this case. But now that we’re starting, we need to win. There are two things you need to do: cancel all cancer insurance policies and be prepared to break the law.”
Sung-han instructs the retired man to take two crucial steps: cancel all cancer insurance policies and prepare to break the law.
Ep 6 When the Past Creeps In
In the morning, Sung-han visits his sister’s grave to honor her on her birthday. He stands alone in front of the grave, expressing his thoughts as if he wants his words to reach his deceased sister.
Later, an uninvited guest, Ma Geum-hee, the ex-mother-in-law of Sung-han’s sister’s former husband who has just returned from America, comes to Sung-han’s office to ask about the burial place of Sung-han’s sister, intending to pay her respects. However, Sung-han refuses and abruptly asks Ma Geum-hee to leave before he loses his patience.
In response, Ma Geum-hee tells Sung-han, “I have warned you before. If you choose to do the right thing, you will encounter endless troubles.”
In the divorce mediation room, the wife suddenly agrees to divorce the retired man. She doesn’t want her 15-year-old son to donate his liver to his father and holds the marriage certificate because there is no financial benefit from life insurance. Additionally, she succumbs to the recorded voice call of her wanting to exceed the insurance. The retired man faces a violation of personal information by taking an audio clip of his wife to reveal without her consent.
Finally, the story ends with another happy ending.
Later, a client from the rural provinces comes to discuss the case with Sung-han. After talking for a while, Sung-han questions why the man had to come to see him when there are many good lawyers nearby. The man hands Sung-han a business card and says that the owner of the card recommended him to come.
Sung-han looks at the business card with an anxious expression, “Jin Young-joo, Public Relations Director, Geum Hwa Law Firm.”
Ep 7 Declaration of War
Sung-han is currently visiting lawyer Park Yoo-seok at the Keum Hwa Law Firm. He has come to declare war on Jin Young-joo. As Park Yoo-seok listens to the details of the incident. He quickly recognizes that Jin Young-joo has intentions to ruin Shin Sung-han. However, it is uncertain who will end up being destroyed in the end.
Meanwhile, Seo-jin receives shocking news that a female client who came to consult with her attempted suicide. She immediately rushes to the hospital, accompanied by Choi-joon. When she arrives, she sees the client’s husband looking guilty, but Seo-jin knows right away that he’s just acting. The client is now out of danger.
Seo-jin requests Choi-joon to tail her client’s husband. What he witnesses is exactly what Seo-jin suspects. Despite his wife’s close brush with death due to a suicide attempt, the husband is sitting in the hospital lobby, watching funny videos on his phone and laughing gleefully.
While Jin Young-joo plays her game, using social media to attack Sung-han’s client. She also uses various news media to create a trend with the headline “Young Vietnamese Wife: Victim of Violence and Torture.”
That night, Sung-han calls his client. On the other end of the line, the 50-year-old farmer speaks to Sung-han through tears. He tells Sung-han that he went to Vietnam at his mother’s insistence. While there, he meets his wife. He knows right away that he wants to bring her back to Korea and give her a better life. But he never imagined that he would one day be accused on social media of buying a Vietnamese woman the same age as his child for abuse.
Furthermore, Sung-han responds firmly over the phone, “I will restore your dignity.”
Ep 8 Turn the Situation Around
Sung-han and his assistant brainstorm ideas to regain the sympathy of the social media audience for his client. But it proves to be more difficult than expected. The comments are overwhelmingly negative and directed towards Sung-han himself. Accusing him of defending perpetrators of domestic violence. This case is a sensitive issue that triggers strong emotions in society. Making it even harder to turn the tide of public opinion.
Sung-han believes that his client is innocent of the abuse allegations. However, the key question that needs to be answered is why the wife decided to report her husband to the police and press charges for assault.
Sung-han’s two best friends decide to investigate the crime scene themselves. They speak with villagers in the area. And the villagers confirm that the husband did indeed beat his Vietnamese wife.Upon hearing this, Sung-han’s friends’ faces fill with blank expressions.
However, Sung-han’s two best friends receive shocking information from the owner of a pesticide pharmacy. He reveals that he saw the Vietnamese woman with another man. Despite telling her husband, the farmer, he did not believe that his wife would be unfaithful.
Meanwhile, Ma Geum-hee, the ex-mother-in-law of Sung-han’s late sister, brings Sung-han’s beloved nephew Ki-young for a visit. The uncle and his nephew share heartwarming moments filled with happiness.
However, their joy is short-lived when Jin Young-joo suddenly appears at Sung-han’s doorstep, demanding to take Ki-young back for his evening classes. Despite Sung-han’s attempts to reason with her, Jin Young-joo has legal rights to the child. It seems that Jin Young-joo won’t let Sung-han have even a small moment of happiness with his nephew. Perhaps she’s satisfied with taking away the person Sung-han loves from his arms.
A Sly Smile
Sung-han reflects on his past with regret. Realizing that he shouldn’t have let his sister and nephew go to live with those people. He becomes more determined than ever to win the case.
Trial day at the courthouse arrives and Sung-han grills the Vietnamese wife with a shocking question that leaves everyone stunned: “Is your son the biological child of the husband?”
There’s no response from the wife. And Sung-han files a petition for a DNA test. A sly smile spreads across his face, and he turns to Park Yoo-seok.
As it turns out, the wife was secretly seeing another man of the same nationality. And her infant son was the product of adultery. She had falsely accused her husband of physical abuse because she wanted to leave him for her lover.
Ep 9 Bold Decision
In the courtroom, a young Vietnamese wife is claiming that she is being forced to work in the fields every day. When she asked to go back to her family in Vietnam, she was physically abused by her husband. The girl is claiming that she has to suffer with this cruel husband.
However, Sung-han presents evidence in court that contradicts the young Vietnamese wife’s claims. He proves that her husband had paid for her family’s visit to Jeju Island. And no one prevented her from seeing them. Additionally, Sung-han provides evidence that the wife’s claim of being forced to work in the fields is false.
Sung-han delivers a devastating blow to the Vietnamese wife by asking, “Is your son actually the child of the defendant’s husband?” The truth is revealed that she had been secretly seeing an adulterer of the same nationality and her infant son was born out of wedlock. She reported her husband for domestic violence to break free and be with her lover.
Sung-han’s case ended in a success and the Vietnamese wife reconciles with her husband, who lovingly holds their baby in his arms without even mentioning the past.
Jin Young-joo’s defeat greatly upset her father-in-law, and he confronts her with a punchy question. However, Jin Young-joo remains silent in response. He asks, “Who exactly is the rotten fish? You or Shin Sung-han!?”
Cut to Lawyer Choi-joon’s case at the mediation room. He presents various pieces of evidence to prove that his client’s husband only married her for her property.When we expose the husband’s true intentions, he erupts and causes chaos. Despite this, Choi-joon’s side wins the case, and the wife is able to divorce without having to pay a single dollar of the marital property to her deceitful husband.
That night, Sung-han treats everyone to a celebratory dinner to mark their victories. As they’re enjoying their drinks, a drunken man approaches Seo-jin and claims to have seen a leaked video of her with another man. Seo-jin is taken aback and stunned. But Sung-han takes charge of the situation and sends the drunk man home.
The following day, Seo-jin gathers her courage and decides to pick up Hyeon-u from school. She ignores the judgmental looks from others and focuses on reuniting with her son. Hyeon-u’s face lights up with happiness as he sees his mother and they embrace tightly, shedding tears of joy.
Ep 10 Too Easy Case
Seo-jin returns to hosting the program via online channels, with fans sending positive messages in response. However, there are also negative comments, which the PD deletes to avoid making Seo-jin feel uncomfortable.
Later on, Seo-jin tracks down the keyboard troll and discovers that it is just a young girl. Her mother ran off with another man, and her father is battling cancer. The girl admits to posting negative comments out of frustration. Seo-jin is shocked to learn that the girl is only 14 years old.
Ma Geum-hee’s divorce case against the chairman of Dae Nam Electronics (the ex-husband of Sung-han’s late sister) quickly became a sensation in the media, capturing immediate attention.
Ma Geum-hee presents evidence that could potentially lead to Sung-han’s victory in the divorce case. The evidence proves that her husband had been involved with another woman for several decades. And based on this, Ma Geum-hee is seeking to receive half of his assets in Dae Nam Electronics.
Sung-han is sitting in his office, contemplating the simplicity of Ma Geum-hee’s divorce case due to the strong evidence. He thinks that even a fresh graduate could handle it with ease. Suddenly, an uninvited guest appears – Ki-young.
Ki-young, Sung-han’s beloved nephew, arrives at the office looking distraught. He approaches Sung-han with a serious expression and speaks in a voice that sounds unfamiliar to Sung-han, “Attorney Shin Sung-han, please help me. Can you take my case?”
Sung-han sees his beloved nephew with a sorrowful expression and immediately embraces him, promising to do everything he can to help.
Ep 11 Words as Weapons
Ki-young comes to Sung-han’s office, visibly upset and distressed. He explains that Uncle Jong, who is the only person who has been kind to him, is about to be replaced as his driver. Ki-young expresses his fear and sadness, saying “In the car is where I feel most comfortable because Uncle Jong is a driver. No one is on my side now. Uncle is about to leave.”
Sung-han tries to comfort his nephew, but Ki-young hits him with another question. “Uncle, you’re not my father or my mother. How can you protect me?”
After taking Ki-young home, Sung-han is restless and unable to sleep as he thinks about the recent events. He feels frustrated that Jin Young-joo is making Ki-young suffer.
The next day, Sung-han meets with Ma Geum-hee and decides to end his involvement in her divorce case. He believes that working on the case may harm Ki-young. And that any lawyer could handle the case with the evidence available. Ma Geum-hee agrees to the terms and gets the 27% share of Dae Nam Electronics she wanted.
That evening, Ma Geum-hee meets Jin Young-joo to discuss Ki-young. The conversation turns into an argument, and Ma Geum-hee drops a bombshell by revealing the last phone call Ki-young’s mother made before she died in a car accident.
Sung-han confronts Jin Young-joo at the police station after his best friend followed Ki-young’s car for days. Jin Young-joo becomes angry and shouts at Sung-han. In response, Sung-han calmly asks her to speak nicely and reminds her that her words are like murder weapons. Jin Young-joo’s face begins to bleed. And she accuses Ki-young’s mother of causing the car crash. Sung-han smiles slightly before turning away.
Putting the pieces together, Sung-han realizes that Ma Geum-hee filed for divorce and wanted a stake in Dae Nam Electronics for Ki-young’s benefit. He wonders why Ma Geum-hee has been so good to Ki-young and meets her again to find out. Ma Geum-hee explains that she loved Ki-young’s mother like a daughter and that she helped her during a difficult time.
The next morning, Sung-han waits for Ki-young before school and offers to help him get out of his predicament. The two hug with joy as Jin Young-joo watches, dissatisfied.
Ep 12 The Last War
Sung-han engages in negotiations with Ma Geum-hee to put an end to her divorce proceedings. In exchange for her husband’s agreement to give her 27 percent of Dae Nam Electronic shares, which she wants, the negotiations go smoothly.
Afterward, Sung-han files a lawsuit to strip Seo Jeong-guk (Ki-young’s father) of his custody rights. The case drags on until the day of the trial, during which Jin Young-joo had lined up witnesses to testify in her favor. She appeared in good spirits and had a smile on her face.
At the first trial, Sung-han attempts to present evidence to the court that Seo Jeong-guk has been neglecting Ki-young’s depression. He begins by recounting an incident when Ki-young was only three years old and was taken from his mother’s arms. Since then, Ki-young has lived with his stepmother (Jin Young-joo) and half-brother, which has been a difficult time for a three-year-old child to endure. Despite this, no one has cared about Ki-young’s depression, and nobody even knows that he is suffering from it.
Sung-han further explains that any driver or housekeeper who is nice to Ki-young is fired for no reason, which makes him feel even more alone. However, Jin Young-joo’s fabricated witnesses give her an advantage, as both Ki-young’s teacher and housekeeper testify that he does not have the problems Sung-han claims. Although Sung-han knows the witnesses are lying, he has no evidence to prove it.
Later, Sung-han meets with Ki-young’s father and tells him that even if he loses the case, he will still move on because he wants Ki-young to know that he is not alone. Sung-han’s words prompt Seo Jeong-guk to start thinking about something, and Sung-han leaves the seeds of doubt in Seo Jeong-guk’s mind regarding the conversation Jin Young-joo had with Ki-young’s mother during the accident.
On the day of the second trial, Sung-han asks Seo Jeong-guk if Ki-young received enough love and attention while living with his father and stepmother. Sung-han answers his own question and says he believes that he did not.
Sung-han continues to explain that caring for someone is more than just providing food, clothing, and education. He believes that because Ki-young has a strong desire to leave the house, he is not receiving enough love and attention.
Wanting to do the right thing, Seo Jeong-guk agrees to confess the truth in front of the court. And in the end, the judge rules that Sung-han be Ki-young’s guardian.
Sung-han happily lives his new life with Ki-young. While Seo Jeong-guk and Jin Young-joo spend the rest of their lives repenting for their wrongs.
Meanwhile, Seo-jin dares to confront the negative attitude people have towards her past and returns to hosting a radio program that she loves.
Photos : JTBC Korea
Watch Divorce Attorney Shin on Netflix : click here