I am really hooked on this series, marathoning 11 episodes in one day. Much has happened since Chi Hai Dong’s divorce, and so I’ve decided to write small summaries – with spoilers, but not every detail – for every episode. This is also a guide for me to remember what happened when…
Overall Thoughts on episodes 5-20
Luo Li and Hai Dong face off each other in another divorce case that ends up getting dragged out for more episodes than I’d care to watch (perhaps 6-8?). It gets very complicated, with underhanded tactics on both sides and even involving Luo Li’s naive mother! But aside from moving the case forward, we learn a lot about the two characters in these episodes as the two talk and understand each other better and where he/she is coming from.
At the end of it, Hai Dong wins in court, but they ultimately settle the case outside of court. I’m not one to like exposition too much, but I was kind of relieved when Hai Dong just explained the outcome of the case to his associate Pan Xiao Gang instead of showing us the dragged out battle even more. It was getting tiring trying to figure out who really was in the wrong or right in that case.
Speaking of wrong or right, this show never really fully explains the lawyers’ clients’ motives. We get enough backstory to help the case – as much as the lawyers need to know – but I never feel satisfied in knowing why he/she wants a divorce, or whose side is actually the real victim. I can’t fully sympathize with any of Luo Li or Hai Dong’s clients because they’re so dubious, and their grounds for divorce or settlement feel so tenuous. As I had said earlier, I really appreciate how I get to learn about China’s rules about marriage, property, and divorce. It’s very interesting how people try to work around the laws in China by manipulating marriage/divorce certificates. I guess their tactics are meant to be more interesting than their motives, which I guess are not really the point since these clients come and go in the lives of the lawyers.
In any case, I really started enjoying the love-hate relationship developing in episode 14. It was super cute seeing how Luo Li is starting to warm up to Hai Dong. It was also a good turning point in their relationship when she finally discovers the truth to Hai Dong’s divorce. I’m really grateful to have that out in the open because she’s a smart woman, so no misunderstanding should be left out hanging for too long.
But the misunderstanding on who trashed her house (which was Hai Dong’s ex-wife’s doing but he took the fall for it) is a little cute for now because it forces them to co-habit in his apartment while he renovates hers, and forces them to shop together. It did lead to a few awkward episodes where we see Hai Dong and Luo Li meeting each other at an acting class or in the movies because it felt like we skipped a few steps (since when were they so close to go to the movies together??) but at least we never lost the bickering relationship they had no matter how close it seems they’ve become.
Luo Li and Hai Dong are on a new case already and found themselves on opposing sides. Luo Li represents Xia Fang Cao, a housewife-turned-hot pot business owner, while Hai Dong represents Zheng Tian Ya, a husband down on his luck. Tian Ya and Fang Cao had a divorce agreement years ago, but it was never filed even though both took it as legal. They moved on with their lives, with Fang Cao dating a security guard named Gu Wei, and Tian Ya moving in with his girlfriend Wu Yi and having a son together. But when Tian Ya is down on his luck, he decides to sue Fang Cao for his “right” to half her fortune made after they “divorced.” She in turn wants their 10-year old agreement formalized and doesn’t want to give him any money.
To win in court, Tian Ya and his friend decide to install a camera in Fang Cao’s home to prove that she’s having an “affair” and submit it as evidence to the court to win the case.
Luo Li and Hai Dong try to work out their differences regarding the case, as settling would be ideal, but then her ex-boyfriend Wen Hui re-enters the picture by giving her a birthday gift of wine and a diamond ring. Luo Li and Hai Dong end up getting drunk over wine, while Hai Dong tries to manipulate Luo Li into settling.
Cao Qian Kuen and his wife Mei Yu receive an old friend, Shi Jiang, at their home, and it turns out this friend has designs on Qian Kuen, knowing full well he’s married to her best friend.
Luo Li throws out the diamond ring outside the complex, and Hai Dong, the gentleman, retrieves it for her. The two of them go to court and Hai Dong presents a video from the camera installed in Fang Cao’s home showing her getting cozy with Gu Wei. Hai Dong uses the argument that Tian Ya wanted to “protect” his wife and didn’t expect to see her with another man. Meanwhile, despite everyone telling her that Tian Ya has another family, Luo Li is unable to procure hard evidence that Tian Ya has another woman and child.
Luo Li seems like she’s losing the case, but Wen Hui gives her some advice on how to re-tackle the case. Meanwhile, her mother, fed up with how ungrateful her father is, comes to Beijing for a visit and Hai Dong picks her up from the airport.
Luo Li’s mother is infatuated with Hai Dong and how handsome he is, much to her daughter’s annoyance. Wen Hui assists in Luo Li’s case by getting his assistant/fellow lawyer to befriend Wu Yi in the park as a fellow mother. The assistant tells Wu Yi about a time when a friend of hers got involved with a married man and had her child, and how she advises her friend to get it in writing that the man will divorce his wife and marry his friend by a certain date so that she could ensure her future. Wu Yi thinks it’s a good idea for her situation and sends along her own guarantee that she’ll give to Tian Ya to sign for the assistant to look over, which then ends up in Wen Hui and Luo Li’s hands.
Luo Li’s mother loses interest in Hai Dong once she realizes he’s a divorced man.
Luo Li returns the ring and the car that Wen Hui gifted her as a way to end her ties with him. She also writes an impassioned plea online telling Fang Cao’s side of the story, getting loads of public support for her and finally entering back in Fang Cao’s good graces. (Since, you know, she kinda lost the case.)
Hai Dong tries to talk to Luo Li regarding the case but her mother won’t let him near her son. But work comes first, and she goes over to Hai Dong’s apartment to talk, only to leave behind a pregnancy test! (Luo Li thinks she’s pregnant.) Hai Dong has enough tact to return it to Luo Li in a brown bag, but he hands it off to the mother, who answered the door. When the mother finds out, she freaks out, and Luo Li argues that it’s not hers but probably one of Hai Dong’s many women. Hai Dong then realizes that she’s trying to cover up a secret from her mom, so he plays along.
Frustrated with how the case is going and how the court has yet to come to a decision, Tian Ya goes to Luo Li’s home with a very threatening attitude, as if he wants to bully her to a surrender. But then realizing that he can’t just bully her, he changes tact and starts begging her for mercy and help to let him win. Meanwhile, Wu Yi goes to Fang Cao’s home and gets her to admit that she and her ex-husband actually earned their money together, which means that Tian Ya has even more reason to claim half of her fortune. Wu Yi secretly records the entire conversation before she gets kicked out of the house by Gu Wei.
Hai Dong manages to get Tian Ya to go to his house, but the client has caused enough of a ruckus to get Luo Li’s mother involved. She meddles into the case despite her daughter’s protestations, and Hai Dong manages to convince the mother to talk to Fang Cao and get her sympathy. The mother visits Fang Cao’s house and convinces her to settle the case and give Tian Ya the money. If she doesn’t and puts Tian Ya in jail, he will come out of jail with nothing. By then their daughter would have graduated college and thus be financially obligated to support her parents. If Fang Cao doesn’t support him now and let him start a new life with his new family, he could come back and haunt heir daughter for money!
Fang Cao finally agrees, with her only stipulation being that she wants Wu Yi to apologize and bow three times for her rudeness. The mother goes back to Hai Dong with the new agreement terms, but then Luo Li won’t let it happen, advising Fang Cao not to go through with this agreement.
Luo Li convinces her mother to go back to Shanghai by pointing out that her father has been well-fed by their neighbor, someone the mother thinks has designs on her husband. So the mother hurries back, wanting to make sure her husband isn’t having an affair! Meanwhile Hai Dong meets another client of his, Dong Da Hai, who uses him as a legal advisor for company matters but wants him to draft up a divorce agreement.Da Hai claims that he doesn’t have a woman on the side, but for some inexplicable reason can’t give Hai Dong a good reason for the divorce, which makes Hai Dong not want to help him. But Xiao Gang comes up with the brilliant idea that Da Hai can present a “fake divorce” to his wife under the pretense to sell one of their properties without paying additional taxes if he claims it as his primary residence post-divorce. Then he could promise to remarry his wife – or not. Da Hai’s wife is very unsure about the idea of a “fake divorce” when she first hears of it though.
Hai Dong also meets Da Hai’s niece, who goes by Anna K or AK, and the two reconnect. AK is a really young girl – in both age and mind – and so it’s clear she has a crush on Hai Dong but he’d never do anything with her. She also scares him to death by driving like a demon on her Jeep.
Fang Cao and Gu Wei battle with his insecurities about the case. Gu Wei wants her to just end the lawsuit, but Fang Cao stubbornly fights on because she’s afraid he’ll think she still cares for her ex-husband. Then Wu Yi barges into the house with one of Tian Ya’s friends (who’s filming the entire time) and gives her “sincere” apologies and bows three times. Fang Cao doesn’t understand what’s going on and refuses to sign any agreement for her. It escalates into a fight, dragging both lawyers to Fang Cao’s house and Tian Ya with his one-year old son.
They all try to negotiate, and Wu Yi accuses Fang Cao of having an affair. That’s the last straw for Gu Wei, who stomps out of the house. He’s been concerned the entire time of how he looks because he feels like a cuckold when he technically didn’t know she was still technically married when they started dating. Finally Hai Dong sends Tian Ya and his family off so that he could handle the proceedings in peace, and Tian Ya begs for Hai Dong to be lenient on his wife, especially since she looks depressed after Gu Wei left.
Episodes 11-20 coming soon!