Representation on screen has always been an issue in the entertainment industry all around the globe. It is not merely about one’s race to be portrayed in a series or movie but rather about the accurate and optimum representation of every race, body type, gender, and so on, and not some stereotypical shenanigans.
One such section of society is the people suffering from neurodivergent disorders. It is infrequent to find series with neurodivergent characters, especially in the K-drama world as Asia as a continent still has its prejudices against mental health issues – whether well researched and written or not becomes an entirely different topic of discussion.
Nonetheless time and again we have had artists and productions that have decided to take a step forward and introduce the audience and the industry to an excellent future as far as representation is concerned. Dramas like The Good Doctor (2013), Move To Heaven (2021), and the Emmy-nominated It’s Okay Not To Be Okay (2020) are examples of the same. The dramas were highly appreciated by the neurodivergent community and fans overall and arose hope for equally beautiful projects.
In 2022, the wishes of the fans came true when the network channel ENA announced Extraordinary Attorney Woo starring Park Eun Bin, Kand Tae Oh, Kang Ki Young, Jeon Bae Soo, Joo Hyun Young, Shin Ha Young, Jin Kyeong, Baek Ji Won, and Yoon Kyeong Ha. The story revolves around, Woo Young Woo, “the first autistic lawyer in South Korea with an IQ of 164, photographic memory, and out-of-the-box thinking that allows her to crack even the most difficult of cases. However, she lacks social skills, has a low EQ, and finds comfort in her love for music and whales.”
The drama was quick to take all over social media on its announcement. To some, the premise didn’t sound very promising and the neurodivergent community was afraid of misrepresentation and the drama being filled with typecasts just to gain sympathy from the audience. But to everyone’s relief, the first episode was enough to prove how well researched and engaging the storyline is. The drama being acquired by Netflix gave a chance to international fans to enjoy it and evidently was a great decision.
The first episode aired on June 29, 2022, and got a rating of 0.9 percent. On July 13 Nielsen Korea reported, that the ENA drama Extraordinary Attorney Woo, has scored an average nationwide rating of 9.138 percent, 10 times higher than its rating on the first episode. The drama broke its own record for the highest-rated k-drama in the history of the network channel. This also marked an approximately 4 percent jump from the previous episode’s rating of 5.2 percent.
According to FlixPatrol, the drama also made it to the Top 10 on a daily global chart for TV programs on Netflix. Since its release, it has topped the daily list at least once in eight countries, including Japan, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The worldwide success of the drama has led to the streaming giant announcing its release in Europe and South America with subtitles in 31 more languages.
Cast members, Park Eun Bin, Kang Tae Oh, Joo Hyun Young, and Kang Ki Young have also been in the buzz since the premiere of the drama.
On July 14, JTBC News also reported, that the success of the drama has led to it receiving remake offers including one from the United States. In response to this report, an ASTORY (the production company behind Extraordinary Attorney Woo) representative said, “We have received a proposal for a remake from the United States, and the production company is currently reviewing the offer.” ( as per Soompi).
Extraordinary Attorney Woo is set to have a total of 16 episodes, with an episode aired every Wednesday and Thursday at 21:00 KST on ENA. The drama is also available for streaming on Netflix.