“Solve Your Problem At The Price Of A Coffee.” With a tagline that hints at a unique cafe that holds the solutions to your problems, South Korea’s latest hit drama, The Law Cafe, premiered on September 5, 2022. Serving up a special blend of romance and comedy, The Law Cafe reached a nationwide viewership of 5.6% with its latest episode on September 20. It stirs in two unlikely ingredients, romance and law, to create a recipe that discusses the emotional intricacies of the legal world. As the adaptation of popular Korean webtoon, Love By Law (법대로 사랑하라), The Law Cafe introduces a warm, loveable story that sets your passion for romance alight.
Mocha: More Of The Story
Under Director Lee Eun-jin’s vision, popular Korean actors Lee Seung-gi and Lee Se-young play the roles of Kim Jung-ho and Kim Yu-ri. Kim Jung-ho, former prosecutor-turned-landlord, is a tracksuit aficionado, always found wearing his trademark set and slippers. Greasy haired and close friends with the neighborhood ajummas, Jung-ho’s appearance hides his former history as a prosecutor and his insane genius underneath. With his photographic memory, he has always been the friend group’s local brainiac and naturally, the top student.
Kim Yu-ri is a lawyer-turned-cafe owner who, ironically, doesn’t know a single thing about coffee. Passionate lawyer, a god-awful cook, and a crying drunk, her fiery personality can’t help but draw Jung-ho in. She gives up her professional law firm career to start a Law Cafe where she serves legal advice with a side of coffee. The Law Cafe is where she helps her community, although it tends to attract more defendants than customers. While coffee may not be her strong suit, her legal prowess more than makes up for it.
The two leads find themselves entangled in a relationship that Jung-ho unfortunately can’t seem to shake off. Starting from one-sided crushes to fake dating in college, Jung-ho finally tastes freedom when he leaves his job as a prosecutor and removes himself from Yu-ri’s life. He becomes the neighborhood’s laidback landlord to leave behind his legal life. That is, until Yu-ri comes barging into his life again by asking to become his tenant for her Law Cafe. The two bicker. A lot. Every day. So much that Jung-ho can’t help but bind himself into a contract that lets Yu-ri into his life again as his tenant. He finds himself helping her in legal cases where he has no choice but to re-engage his legal expertise. Reluctantly working together, the two become a powerhouse in the face of various cases and an invested neighborhood.
Frappé: From The Webtoon
Love By Law, The Law Cafe’s origin story, was released on September 27, 2019 with 51 chapters. The chapters stopped updating around a year after its release, but two years after the last chapter, the webtoon was picked up by Director Lee Eun-jin to transform its story into a K-drama. The Law Cafe embraces its webtoon origins with dramatic editing that mirrors a comic strip. Scenes break into panels and the two leads break the fourth wall in a back and forth manner. The K-drama dives deeper into the duo’s inner workings as they deliver mini interviews that address the viewer—much like that of a webtoon. As they complain, rage, and comment on each other, the interview increases realism but also relatability. After all, who doesn’t relate to having an annoying neighbor?
One day before The Law Cafe’s official premiere, author Noh Seung-ah released additional content—a remake of the original webtoon in the form of a novel. It distances itself from its previous edition by removing the art and following a more dialogue based structure. Readers who find themselves attracted to the faster-paced reading experience may enjoy the novel edition more. As Jung-ho and Yu-ri collaborate, corroborate, and counterattack, the two fight for what Noh states are the keywords that define the novel—belief and affection.
Black Coffee: Behind The Scenes
Author Noh dives deeper into what she hopes The Law Cafe can deliver to its audience. To her, The Law Cafe aims to focus on more than just its romance. By combining love with life’s intricacies, The Law Cafe blends in legal cases surrounding mental health, morality, loss, and violence. Through dealing with cases that challenge her community, Yu-ri deals with problems that question her morality and motivation. But even through regrets and mistakes, she steps back into court out of the desire to help remove the legal barrier for her troubled neighbors. While romance is certainly a factor that gets viewers invested in the main leads, their imperfection is what makes them relatable and strangely, comforting. Some characters may be defined to be “too” rash, “too” smart, and “too crazy,” but Noh embraces the “too”s to suggest that it’s okay to not be the norm. In fact, it just might help you win a court case.
Cappuccino: Chemistry In Law
With an undeniable chemistry between Lee Seung-gi and Lee Se-young, Noh rejoices in the casting decision, saying “I thought that there couldn’t be a more perfect and grateful casting.” Lee Seunggi and Lee Se-young bring a distinct flavor in their two characters from former lovers to lovers in denial. As the little tidbits about each other that have been collected since their high school days start stacking up, the duo slowly start realizing they can never stray too far from the other. Sharp tongued but jumping in front of Yu-ri at any signs of danger, Jun-ho’s protectiveness charms Yu-ri and viewers alike with his caring personality. Blocking knives, cooking dinner, and helping Yu-ri at work is all just in the day’s work for a man who’s had his eyes set on his 17 year long crush. After all, who doesn’t like someone who remembers your favorite coffee order.
Watch The Law Cafe on Viki.
Interested in more K-drama content? Read our breakdown of Little Women here!