First Impressions: Law Disorder (TVB, 2016)

Law Disorder (律政強人)

Genre: Legal Drama
Length: 28 episodes
Producer: Marco Law

Cast: Alex Fong, Liu Kai Chi, Ali Lee, Mandy Wong, Florence Kwok, Raymond Cho, Lau Dan, Becky Lee, Kelly Cheung, etc.

If you have read my review on the 4 series to look forward to based on TVB’s sales presentation for 2016, then you’ll know that Law Disorder is one of them — and probably the only one that’s produced 100% by TVB that I wasn’t mocking at when I wrote that post. Like it’s trailer presented itself, it lives up to the darker film-esque aesthetic and direction of the series. Also, it encompasses an unusual cast ensemble of Alex Fong and Liu Kai Chi as well as my favorites Florence and Mandy and newcomers like Ali Lee and Kelly Cheung.

The series somehow was marketed or fell under the legal drama category while after a few episodes, it has a balance of both legal and cases that fall under a bigger umbrella, office politics, power, and money.

Whether it’s really a legal drama or that practicing law becomes a secondary goal compared to office politics, the focus is unsure at this moment.

Maybe it will be the male version of Fashion War, but with a heavier, darker, and more solemn tone. But from casting to filming and even from a business perspective, it seems less like a way to promote people and more like something with substance.

It’s definitely a legal drama to some respect, but the best part is that the series finds its niche and focus in the legal field, where everyone has some kind of influence in the legal world. No main character is sidelined to playing someone who isn’t part of the legal field.

The series has many elements of an exciting thriller: a nasty power-hungry and influential villain, a money-oriented lawyer who crosses boundaries, and a business chairman whose motivations we are uncertain of. Alex is portrayed as a brilliant lawyer and even his ex-apprentice praises him, “If there was another mentor who was was smarter than him I would definitely have jumped ships, but there wasn’t.” Meanwhile the sly fox, Liu Kai Chi is taking every opportunity and outshining Alex with his intense and nasty expressions. I’m like, this is a little too dramatic and transparent to display in public.

Then somewhere below that are capable lawyers like Mandy and Raymond, who are young and smart, but probably just waiting for the right opportunity to rise. Mandy’s failed apprentice relationship with her sifu, Alex, also arouses a lot of interest when she says, “I’ve regretted some things in life, but having him as my sifu wasn’t one of them” even though he failed her right before her completion of her two year apprenticeship with him.

Mandy really reminds me of her alter ego from The Fixer, where she was really adamant about studying law out of interest and passion rather than using it at a stepping stone to a corporate career. Nevertheless, Mandy’s sense of maturity and style here really places her as a quick-witted, competent, and ‘big sister’ among her generation of lawyers and girl friends — and for this reason Joyce Tang just might have an on-par competitor in the running for Best Supporting Actress this year. Good character on paper? Check. Solid acting? Always, check. Will she get enough hype built up? Not sure yet.

Then finally, at the bottom, there are lawyers like Ali and Kelly who somewhat naive in their thinking and pales in comparison to everyone else’s ambitions at the firm. Nevertheless, they are still lovable. I have to admit that I’m already not shipping the whole Alex and Ali couple thing, which I can only see falling into another mentor and mentee relationship. The chemistry between Alex and Mandy is much more transparent and there is way less baby-sitting since Mandy knows how “the game” is played. Too bad Mandy already made her stance clear and even advised Ali not to like the guy. I’m like, “wha!” (inserts emoji of my dreams being shot with an arrow)

It’s a character driven series where the main players from both sides have perseverance and grit. I can’t say I’m completely invested and immersed into the series yet, but there is also no reason not to continue either.

  • Salty

    Disappointing finale. Why wasn’t KC prosecuted for his crimes? So basically, what this show is trying to tell us is that everyone can skate the law through blackmail… :/ KC’s wife is the dumbest character in the show. KC abused her so much she just came crawling back and ready to jump into the same company with him is just ridiculous!

  • déjà vu

    The idea of the drama is good but then there are just too many inaccuracies.
    No hospitals would leave patients with bottles of medicine in their rooms, quite impossible to have all cases settled out of court, etc etc. It is just not believable how Cheung Keung let his guard down when he got played out after how he handled challenges earlier, it’s like a different person all together. Legal cases are mostly long drawn but here some would not survive half an episode!
    Prosecutors are ex-wife of someone and current girlfriend of another, what? is Hong Kong such a small island?
    TVB being TVB, disappointing. A good plot wasted.