Juvenile Justice is a 2022 South Koreanstreaming television series. Directed by Hong Jong-chan, it stars Kim Hye-soo, Kim Mu-yeol and Lee Sung-min. The series, which tells the story a judge, who is known for her dislike of juveniles, gets appointed as judge of a juvenile court was released on Netflix on February 25, 2022.

uvenile Justice follows the story of Shim Eun-seok, an elite judge with a cold and distant personality, who is known for her dislike of juveniles, as she becomes a newly appointed judge of a juvenile court in the Yeonhwa District. There, she breaks customs and administers her own ways of punishing the offenders. She has to deal with and balance her aversion to minor offenders with firm beliefs on justice and punishment as she tackles complex cases while discovering what being an adult truly means.

The court-room drama sends a message of how society is also responsible for juveniles’ acts.

Cast

Review 1: by EverydayEverynight01 (link)

Juvenile Justice: A dark but realistic kdrama shedding light on issues of Korean law and society that I strongly recommend

This is one of the best Kdramas of 2022. If not THE BEST and will always be a top tier kdrama in my heart along with Mystic Pop-up Bar, Flower of Evil, and Move to Heaven. This Korean drama has amazing writing, pacing, and dialogue brought to life by top-tier acting and music we have a kdrama that sheds light on juvenile offenders, the leniency they receive, the ubiquitous repeated offenders, and other issues in law and society.

Characters

We have a cold hearted and emotionless judge, who despises juvenile offenders with the philosophy that the law is too lenient towards young offenders. Contrast to that we have her colleague, Cha Tae-Ju who is a warm hearted and has a philosophy of rehabilitation of offenders. Each with opposite ideals but the same goal: serving justice, but in their own way.

Examples of the many ways it sheds light on Korean society

My favourite episode of this kdrama were episode 3 and 4 where it focused Seo Yu-Ri’s case. Seo Yu-Ri was part of a runaway gang and has a history of minor crimes including theft. But when we get to know more about her, the kdrama teaches and important lesson which is a re-occurring theme throughout the show as we see more juvenile offenders: you’re a product of your environment.

This child dealt with horrific abuse from her father. But what I loved most about this story is the grandmother. She is good hearted but she discouraged her granddaughter to report the abused because “he’s her father”, how she tried to convince her son to stop, and when she confessed to the police that she raised her son wrong and how his father was also abusive; which led to her son continuing that cycle down her granddaughter.

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I know this sound shitty of the grandma but this really touched me because this is exactly the problem with Asian society in general. Hitting your child as a form of discipline is normal (not to that extent) and it is why child abuse is so common. The sentiment of “respect your parents” and “respect your elders” is also the standard in Asia.

I’ve never seen a Korean drama talk about truly deep and sensitive issues about Korea like Juvenile Justice does which is why it’s my favourite. It doesn’t just talk about issues in Korea that everyone is okay with talking about like corruption, or beauty standards; It sheds light on genuinely critical societal issues that most don’t want to talk about such as academic pressure and competition, child abuse, forced prostitution, gang violence, juveniles being unafraid of the law because of how lenient their sentences will be and fucking scary they are because not even the law is stopping them.

It’s not like some other dramas about law where justice is ALWAYS served (cough, cough, While you were sleeping). It shows the reality and how the law doesn’t always protect the victim and those perpetrators do get away or get extremely lenient sentences.

This kdrama is on the darker side of things but if you’re okay with it I strongly recommend it! I finally found a kdrama to be on my top tier greatest of all time kdramas through the stories important stories it tells. 10/10

Review 2: by Babadook (link)

Juvenile Justice is the newest South Korean Netflix Original. I was waiting for this series more than The Silent Sea and All of Us Are Dead.

As the name suggests, this show is about dealing with crimes committed by juveniles and providing them justice. This series boasts of having exceptionally talented cast – Kim Hye-soo, Lee Sung-min, Lee Jung-eum and Kim Mu-yeol.

Kim Hye-soo is playing the role of an elite judge, Judge Shim, but newly appointed to the juvenile court. She dislikes Juvenile criminals (and she has a personal reason for that) and will go to any length to punish the offenders.

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The best thing is that this drama addresses the juvenile crime in a way no drama had ever done before. It takes the viewers through the dark streets of crimes committed by juveniles. Most of us are aware of major crimes, but in our mind we often perceive children as being unable to commit crimes, let alone murder and butcher someone up.

This drama is not all about showing crimes of juveniles, but also about protecting such children from being exposed to harsh cruelties of our heartless society. The cases in this drama will shake you to the core, not because they are insane, but because they are based on the real crimes.

This show also explores the role of adults and parents in shaping up the kid in what they are. A simple scolding can do wonders. This show is an eye-opener for parents who go to any length to protect their kids, and instead of punishing their child for their mistakes, they pamper them up. A single slap can do wonders, parents need to understand that.

This series is the take on our inefficient judiciary. In one case of this drama, two young kids accidentally killed a young boy by throwing the brick at him. But instead of punishing them, the court gave its verdict in a mere five minutes and thus striping off the opportunity to educate those children. The result was that, five years later, they were involved in rapes and prostitution. This case shows how much it’s important for the judiciary to do its duty properly. Their job is not alone to punish such criminals, but also to makes sure they are educated enough to not get further involved in heinous crimes. Of course, it’s not the job of court alone, but also of their parents.

By the end of the drama, I was left in anger, resentment and also in tears. It’s such a shame that our judiciary still treats heinous juvenile offenders as minors. The law needs to be amended. If minors are able to murder and rape, then they are adult enough to be given more extended punishment, and may be even capital punishment. Might come out a little too harsh, but saying this because one such case shook India, in which a minor was let go irrespective of the fact that he was involved in a crime that has never been seen here before.

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Kim Hye-soo in this drama was absolutely brilliant. She is an amazing actress and with this performance, she has shown why she is regarded as one of the best actresses in Korean industry. Her expressions were terrific. Her body gestures ooze out the hatred and pain hidden in her heart. On the side note, I believe no one in the world can tell by looking at her that she is in her 50s. She is just drop-dead gorgeous.

Kim Mu-yeol (Judge Shim) as a fellow compassionated judge was also good, but his role could’ve been made more pivotal. Lee Sung-min is a treat to watch on screen. My only complaint was that Lee Jung-eun was introduced so late into the series, she hardly had any time to shine, but she did exceptionally good in the limited time she got.

The MVP of this series are the child actors. Each and every of them carried out their roles with such ease. It had made me wonder if any therapy is being provided to them after the completion of shooting, as some of the cases were very disturbing and could have a negative impact on their young mind.

This series and not only a legal thriller, but also the commentary on how the society and close relatives are also responsible for shaping up the future of children. This show makes one educate about the rights and duties of juveniles.

This drama is one of the best I’ve ever seen and ranks high in my list of the best dramas, in the leagues of Stranger, My Mister and Reply.

If I have to rate it, I will rate it 9.5/10, half deducted only because I, somehow, felt that the backstory of Judge Shim was left a bit incomplete. Maybe they will return in the second season, and the last shot of this series does indicate so. It’s a Netflix Original series, so it’s a high chance that this one will have multiple season.

This is a must-watch series because it’s brutally real and an eye-opener

5/5 - (2 votes)

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