I’ve already fangirled about this show but let me do some more. I’m bummed that it’s over. It was just a lot of fun looking forward to what I would be finding out next. In spite of some weaknesses that made the story less plausible (for example, Yeol-moo’s monologue that tricks Lee Jong-gon into spilling his dirty secret), Pride and Prejudice was remarkable for enabling ordinary viewers like me to think for a moment about the society that we inhabit. The plastic surgeon who supplies politicians with money and drug and commits sexual violence against his hapless female employees is named Joo Yoon-chang (주윤창) in the show. This name reminded me of a particular former public official, also with a penchant for harassing women, called Yoon Chang-jung (윤창중). Yoon, a former spokesman for President Park Geun-hye, was sacked after it was found out that he had sexually assaulted a young intern while accompanying President Park on her first high-profile visit to a foreign nation.
On the show, Park Man-geun (박만근), corrupt but powerful that he needs not commit crimes himself but simply encourages his pawns, symbolizes the forces that deprave the society. In the charged exchange between prosecutor Moon hee-man and Park Man-geun, in which Moon accuses Park of failing to do anything to save a dying child while Park brazenly retorts that inaction is not a crime, the viewers are reminded of the wrenching image of the sinking ferry full of dying children and the inaction that the nation took. The boys who were kidnapped in the show wore yellow jackets. This color yellow resembles that of the ribbons that many donned to symbolize hope and offer solidarity. In the drama, Yeol-moo’s brother died a sad death while Kang-soo, the one who survived, went about carrying the weight of life. These boys strangely resemble the dead and the living who both suffered from the Sewol tragedy.
Making every effort to bring justice are Dong-chi (동치) and Yeol-moo (열무) whose names smell of kimchi, which is undoubtedly a dish that every commoner can afford to enjoy and that helps quench thirst in a hot summer and rejuvenates appetite in an icy winter. These young, spirited prosecutors are like those refreshing dongchimi and yeolmoo kimchi. The rest of Dong-chi’s team with ordinary names like Jang-won (장원), Gwang-mi (광미), and Dae-gi (대기) shows the faces of ordinary, law-abiding people who often work hard and just want to live happy lives. Prosecutor Moon Hee-man (문희만) sounds like “무늬만” (moonnui man), which means “in name only” in Korean. The viewers who have been wondering all along whether Moon was a prosecutor in name only get their answer in the final episode and wish that all prosecutors would function like one.
Prosecutor Moon and Dong-chi are able to accomplish something by the end, but Park Man-geun doubts the effectiveness of their work in his eerie words – he may not be the only Park Man-geun. There are more Park Man-geuns out there.
Harmless people died away right in front of many eyes in April 2014. What Park Man-geun represents may never be eradicated. But the show that ends by fast-forwarding to three years later, introducing prosecutor Yeol-moo and attorney Dong-chi, offers ample hope, which so many people deserve.
Pride and Prejudice was written by Lee Hyun-joo and directed by Kim Jin-min.