Showing posts with label legal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label legal. Show all posts

18 September 2022

Woo-Woo!


villab
Extraordinary Attorney Woo

I've fallen in love. She's Korean, smart, attractive, lovable. My previous Asian dalliance didn’t fare so well, but I’ll discuss that shortly.

Extraordinary Attorney Woo

The first ‘she’ is a television show available on Netflix, Extraordinary Attorney Woo. Wow to Woo. Characterization is fantastic. The settings give a limited peek into South Korean city life and village peace, but most interesting was a temple. The plots were consistently clever and well executed. And… this is the only time I include a food review with a telly review, but I wanted to try what he had… and she and that guy over there.

I’ve given to understand the Korean title of Extraordinary Attorney Woo leans closer to Strange Lawyer Woo. The present translation is better than the original. The Woo in question is a fresh-out-of-law-school attorney and she is extraordinary.

She’s also autistic, which makes tasks small and large difficult for her. The story line counters her autism with a dose of savant, statistically not typical but it works. She remembers everything she reads.

Although she graduated top of her class, she couldn’t find a job until her single father called in a favor, winning her an internship in the second largest law firm in Seoul. Her dad is a bit of a mystery, a man who also trained in law but chooses to run a luncheonette.

Employees at Woo’s firm are wary of her, but after initial doubts, her supervising attorney takes her under his wing, mitigating some of the office politics. And wow, their law office makes that Northern despot crackpot seem like an amateur. Colleagues refer to one of Woo's fellow interns as a ‘tactician’, which I gather imputes a sly and devious plotter, one determined to oust Woo from the firm.

Two other colleagues are of interest, one of them her romantic interest, the boy all the girls love chooses to hang with Woo.

The most fascinating amongst her associates is her former classmate, Choi Su-yeon. All through university, Su-yeon helped Woo navigate campus life just as she helps her integrate into the corporate workplace. And, just like Su-yeon constantly came off academic runner-up in the shadow of Woo’s first place, Su-yeon finds herself exasperated she’s repeating the same pattern in the professional world. And yet, Su-yeon can’t help herself. She’s kind, selfless, and fond of Woo at her most helpless and hapless. She’s a beautiful character portrait.

In case after case when all seems hopeless, Woo makes a mental connection and resolves the current court battle. She astonishes the legal world and comes to the attention of the city’s largest firm. Indeed, the two largest firms in Seoul are both run by the smoothest of women. They that reminded me of a real-life supervisor at a large Central Florida theme park. Fellow cast members in her way never felt the sharpest of blades in their backs but wondered where the pool of blood came from.

Heartless Seoul

I’d previously watched the wildly popular Squid Game. Once the series ended, I stood under a long, hot shower, brushing my teeth and tongue to get the bad taste out of my mouth. Visually, it’s fascinating and I enjoyed the M.C. Escher quadriplex. But psychologically, it’s a sick ƒ. Give me Silence of the Lambs any day.

Frankly, I don’t think of Squid Game as a horror show although hints of horror break the surface from time to time. Perhaps its most interesting scene is a short ripoff of Eyes Wide Shut, that did it better and didn’t leave the audience wanting to scrub off their skin to get clean. And after the show should have ended, we had to endure an anticlimax as the tale petered out. It's a parable, see, like the Book of Job, which requires lots of slowwww explanation.

Without doubt, my distaste of perfidy factors into my opinion. Squid Game brings us 455 (actually more) examples of betrayal… and death. Rumors that Leader Kim Jong-un hung over his toilet bowl might be slightly exaggerated. But as I said, it is extremely popular and Leonardo DiCaprio will join the production for its second season. Let me guess– he might crack open the secret organization.

One opinion, of course. Your mileage will vary.

Heart in Seoul

I’ve talked about everyone except W우우 Young-W우우. Her name is a palindrome as she remarks at every introduction. She eats the same lunch every day, gimbap (seaweed sushi). She counts to three before skipping over a threshold. She converses almost exclusively about Cetaceans (whales, dolphins). She tends to wobble instead of walk. She’s terrified of revolving doors… and I have sympathy for her.

But we, like her colleague Su-yeon, see her beauty. She’s moral and ethical, which sometimes conflicts with the law. She’s vulnerable. She tries to fit in, and she wants her father to let her make her own mistakes. She worries she won’t be able to fall in love and please a husband. She’s bloody smart. And every so often dimples pop out of nowhere.

Producers waited a year to land the actress for the rôle and they chose well.

Watchers in Korea criticized the last two episodes of Season 1. (Yes, there will be a Season 2.) Her supervisor has cancer. When Woo visits him in the hospital, someone comments that the odds of survival are good. Woo corrects them, rattling off dismaying probabilities and percentages. Viewers were offended, saying, “How insensitive. My Uncle Ted got cancer and…”

That was part of the point, of course, that autistics often misread the room. Instead of watching Woo with social horror, they should have noticed her supervisor, smiling from his hospital bed. He understood she meant no harm and showed her concern by visiting.

Extraordinary Attorney Woo cast
At first blush, it might appear an overhanging vine, but look again. It’s Woo’s obsession.

I can’t emphasize enough how clever, kind, smart, smart and charming the program is. I’m noted for detesting SOS (soap opera shite) that so often appears in series as dying shows drag on. Woo profides a surfeit of personal drama, but it never crosses the line in jump-the-shark melodrama.

Extraordinary Attorney Woo. I give it 114 stars and six thumbs up.

18 August 2014

Troubled Minds


Jan Grape This has been an awful week for me personally. After hearing about the death of always creative and funny icon Robin Williams and all that sadness entailed, we hear about the death of the beautiful Lauren Bacall. Of course, there was a big difference.  Age for one thing, Betty Bacall was eighty-nine years old and had lived a full and I imagine a reasonably happy life. Her great love was Humphrey Bogart and by all accounts their marriage was happy and fulfilling. Although it was cut short by his early death.

Robin Williams was only sixty-six, and I say only because I have long since past my sixties and that seems reason enough to say "only." But we discover that he was a man who has fought depression for a number of years. But he had given up his addictive drugs and seemed to be on a fairly good path. Problem is, we just never know. Little things can send a troubled mind off into the abyss and into that awful land of suicide. His television show had been cancelled and he recently had been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease according to his wife. Those two things are enough to slam even the hardiest of us right into the gut, but to someone who deals with clinical depression and someone who perhaps is bi-polar it can be devastating. No one except a person who has dealt with such depression can begin to understand.

Jeremiah Healy
Jerry Healy
On Friday, I learned along with many others in the writing game, Jeremiah Francis Healy the lll had also died.  He had completed suicide on Thursday evening. Jerry Healy aka Terry Devane was only sixty-eight years old. This was the hardest blow for me to take as I've known Jerry for years and years and been around him, bar-hopping, playing poker, eating meals, laughing and talking about writing for hour upon hour. There was a time when I went to at least two mystery conferences a year, the main one being Bouchercon. And it was at these fan and writer outings that I spent time with Jerry, along with a cadre of mystery writers. Jerry was a graduate of Rutgers College and Harvard Law School and was a Professor at the New England School of Law for eighteen years. We always teased him about his preppy look. But he could carry it off if anyone could. Probably that big smile of his made us forgive him.

He was a member of Private Eye Writers, a Shamus Award winner and nominee and was the President of PWA. For several years I was the editor of their newsletter, Reflections in a Private Eye and because of that Jerry and I spoke on the phone occasionally but, more often we e-mailed back and forth. Jerry wrote over thirteen novels featuring John Francis Cuddy, Private Eye Series and two short story collections with Cuddy. Fifteen have been either nominated or won the Shamus award given by the Private Eye Writers of America. In 2001, began the legal thrillers featuring Mariead O'Clare, written under the name of Terry Devane. The third, A Stain Upon The Rose was optioned for a feature film. He was also a President of the International Association of Crime Writers and traveled extensively in Europe.

I personally never would have guessed that Jerry suffered chronic depression, however, I do know that it seems to be a regular visitor to creative people. I imagine all the times I was around Jerry, he was in his element, being with fans and writers and discussing writing projects and the writing biz. At those times the depression was at bay.

Since Friday, I have learned one thing that I did already know but learned much more about, was how many upcoming writers that Jerry helped. He shared stories and ideas and encouraged them especially new writers coming up. He helped me quite a lot and blurbed my first book. And I do have a bit of insight into why Jerry was always helping.

One early morning after an all night poker game at Bob Randisi's headquarters (our usual game room) Jerry insisted in walking me back to my hotel room. It was only across the street as I recall but being the gentleman he was, he didn't want me out on the street alone at four in the morning. We were strolling along, in no particular hurry, talking about receiving help from other more advanced writers. I remember saying something like, I can never repay the writers who have helped me along the way. Jerry said, something like, you can't even begin to repay them.  But let me tell you what Mary Higgins Clark told me.

Right after Jerry's first book was published, he attended the Edgars meeting in NYC. Since he lived in Boston, this was not a big deal for him. However, a few people knew he had recently published his first book. Somehow, Ms Clark found him and invited him to a party at her apartment.  Seems everyone who was everyone was going. Jerry went still not knowing how Mary Higgins Clark knew who he was and during the evening he found himself talking to Ms Clark and two or three others and he said to her. I've been lucky in that I've had so many other mystery writers who have helped and encouraged me along the way. I'll never be able to pay them back for all they've done. Without missing a beat, Mary said, "Don't even try it. You'll never be able to make up. But what you can do is pay it forward. You can help others who are coming along and in that way you are giving back to all the ones who helped you."

Jerry took that to heart and I read over and over from a large number of FB people how Jerry had helped and encouraged them in their writing. He also helped when he learned they might be having a personal crises. Jerry would pull them aside and give them encouragement. And each person said what a genuine, warm and kind person he was.

If I thought for a while I could come up with story after story of Jerry and some of the funny things he did. Or the gentlemanly things he did. But thinking too hard about those stories are a bit to difficult to think of right now. My heart is too full of our loss. But two stories did come to mind.

Once a group of us had a joint signing at a mystery bookstore, maybe in Bethesda. After the signing, everyone was trying to get a taxi to go back to the hotel. I got back with a group of writers and I saw three or four older ladies getting out of a taxi with Jerry Healy. The ladies had huge smiles on their faces and I thought to myself, Jerry just made the day for those fans. They will never forget his taking the time to visit with them and what a gentleman he was.

The other story is one that I hope will give you a smile.  A number of private eye writers play poker in Randisi's room. The game is by invitation only and I had the honor of being the first female who was asked to play. For several times, I was on the "B" team, meaning I could only play after one of the "A" gave up or was wiped out for the evening. One Saturday night at Bouchercon, after the banquet a group of us met up in the hotel lobby to head for the poker game. There were four or five of us and we walk in the hotel room to find Jeremiah Healy, all alone in the room, sitting alone at one of the tables reading a book. We were taken aback. What in the world was he reading? How To Win At Poker. Needlessly to say, we all fell out laughing.

Goodbye, my friend, I love you and miss you. Much love to Sandy. the family and all the many, many friends who also loved and will miss Jeremiah Healy III. RIP

At the Healy's cabin in Maine in 2003. I stayed there while attending an author day event at Five Star Publishing. Jerry demonstrating an electric bug zapper which looks like a tennis racket, the stuffed animal is the victim. Note the evil grin on Healy's face.