K-Drama Extraordinary Attorney Woo Provides Positive Autistic Representation & More Live News

The following contains spoilers for Extraordinary Attorney Woo, now streaming on Netflix.

Reaching Netflix’s Top 10 non-English series rankings, Extraordinary Attorney Woo is a heart-warming legal Korean drama following rookie attorney Woo Young-woo who starts working at a law firm and falls within the autism spectrum. This series provides a positive representation of autism by demonstrating how she is able to achieve her dream of being an attorney while facing many challenges.

Ever since she was a child, Young-woo (Park Eun-bin) had trouble communicating to the point that she wasn’t speaking, resulting in her dad taking her to a specialist, who diagnosed her with autism. She didn’t utter a word until she witnessed a confrontation, where she started to cite degrees of physical assault that she memorized from her father’s law books. From then on, Young-woo had a fixation with the law, going to law school and becoming top of her class before getting hired by a renowned law firm. Now, she uses her skills to solve cases, while making some new friends who accept her. This series is part of the recent rise in autistic representation, with examples including Moon Knight‘s Steven Grant and Dead End: Paranormal Park‘s Norma, who are speculated to fall within the autism spectrum.

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The Challenges of Being Autistic

The series shows the many challenges that Young-woo faces in the courtroom and in her everyday life while depicting the typical behaviors that come with being on the autism spectrum. This includes having difficulty expressing herself, doing repetitive actions and being uncomfortable with physical contact. Her diagnosis also manifests in her having trouble using rotating doors, as well as developing an obsession with whales, which makes her all the more charming and endearing. Young-woo’s lovability is comparable to that of the iconic Forrest Gump, who is also said to fall on the spectrum. Her diagnosis makes certain situations challenging, but it does not get in the way of her work or her goals.

The director, Yoo In-sik, and the writer and creator of the series Moon Ji-won wanted to use the show to address prejudices and stereotypes around autism and provide a look into the world of these extraordinary individuals. Now and again, while tackling new lawsuits, Young-woo faces prejudice and discrimination. In these situations, she speaks about how people don’t see her as someone capable of resolving encounters and carrying out an attorney’s job. In the end, she doesn’t let this get to her, saying that she isn’t ordinary, she is extraordinary.

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The Power of Positive Representation

Having the main character of a Korean drama on the autism spectrum and have a societally valuable job makes the series unique and different. The choice to make her the lead, bringing her desires and struggles to life, offers a glimpse into what it means to have this disability while showing that she can still succeed. This representation is necessary for the current social climate where people with autism are still looked down upon and discriminated against. The importance of this is further emphasized by the fact that not all portrayals are done right, with examples such as Young Justice: Phantoms, where they botched their autism awareness arc.

While watching this Korean drama, audiences will find themselves rooting for Young-woo, not out of pity, but because they will genuinely want to see her succeed. She is a vibrant, persistent and charming individual with an unyielding love of whales and the law. With every new case, she develops a creative way of solving it, which puts her ahead of the curve. Extraordinary Attorney Woo delivers something new and fresh, not only through the lead character but through the way that she interacts with the world.

Extraordinary Attorney Woo is available to stream on Netflix.

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