Witch’s Court: A Character Piece

Although I’m disappointed this show isn’t as much of a RomCom as I thought it would be, I am digging it, especially the main character. At about 75% through, Witch’s Court is still engaging because it’s more of a character piece than anything else. Yes, the main plot is important, too, but even if prosecutor Ma Yi Deum doesn’t get the justice she’s hoping for, the writing leaves no doubt that she’ll keep on trying no matter what happens.

Witch’s Court came out in 2017 and stars Jung Ryeo Won (The Lord of Dramas) and Yoon Hyun Min (Tunnel) as public prosecutors Ma Yi Deum and Yeo Jin Wook. Yi Deum, by demotion, and Jin Wook, by choice. both end up working in the Crimes against Girls department, a place Yi Deum assures Jin Wook no prosecutor actually wants to be.

Ma Yi Deum is a love her or hate her character, though most will probably begin by disliking her. She’s abrasive, mannish, and conniving to a fault–barely any empathy can she spare for her own sex. But she’s our heroine, so of course Yi Deum is doing more than just climbing up the government ladder. Her tragic past has everything to do with the Crimes against Girls department, for when she was a kid her mother disappeared suddenly and we, the audience, get to know that her mother had some very key information on a sexual abuse case against a powerful police officer. That officer is now a politician and running for mayor of the city. It fast becomes Yi Deum’s goal to bring the rapist to justice.

This show is mostly a procedural one, focused on the cases brought to the department, and it’s a little off-putting that these crimes against women, children, and also men, are not really given the gravity they deserve. Everything is presented in a near-campy way, and like the prosecutors in the department, it’s easy for us to forget the horrific, invasive nature of the crimes throughout the show. On the other hand, sex and abuse crimes are pretty awful to handle. A whole show treating them as seriously as possible would also be hard to watch. The emotional weight of what the team is dealing with largely is shown to the audience through the actions of their stoic leader, Min Ji Sook, played excellently by Kim Yeo Jin (Man to Man), and the aforementioned Jin Wook, who really, really wants to be there.

Yi Deum and Jin Wook make an excellent team. The latter is far too emotional and empathetic, while the former is focused almost solely on winning the cases. Both make up for what the other lacks, and both are smart in different ways. Although there is clear attraction between the two, romance is a small part of the show. Yi Deum is a very masculine behaving woman and Jin Wook a man very in touch with his feminine side. This makes for a fun and funny dynamic, and the RomCom tables are turned a bit here, as it’s usually the guy who’s the jerk in the beginning.

Add to that a powerful soundtrack, great minor characters, and plenty of heartbreaking and frustrating cases, and Witch’s Court is a good, solid watch. Jung Ryeo Won is great as Yi Deum, and as annoying as she is, I really do like the character. Yoon Hyun Min, who is necessarily easy on the eyes, taps into his wonderful emotive acting that I first saw in the awesome show Tunnel. His Jin Wook is just a bit too much, too caring, too wanting to do the right thing. By the second episode it’s clear why both leads are still single.

Witch’s Court is a fun watch that rests heavily on the character of Yi Deum and her interactions with her opposite, Jin Wook. It stops short of being great, but hits all the points of a good RomCom without actually technically being a RomCom. This is a procedural drama with low-key comedy running throughout. I am excited to see how it ends.

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