“Juvenile Justice,” starring Kim Hye-soo, Kim Mu-yeol, Lee Sung-min, and Lee Jung-eun, is a K-drama that scrutinizes the juvenile justice system in Korea. But more than just the courtroom drama, this series is about redemption, second chances, and how it takes a village to raise a child.
1. When Someone’s Cornered, Their True Nature Always Comes Out.
From its first murder case involving a 13-year-old suspect, you can see how human nature comes to play. The truth is revealed when the conspirator Baek Seung-woo is cornered by evidence against the real perpetrator. Even the most vicious juvenile delinquents are reduced to fear of severe penalty and are inclined to save themselves.
2. There Are Multiple Sides to Every Story but There Is Only One Truth.
The Pureum Youth Recovery Center case gives us different versions of the story. There’s a group of delinquents, mostly from poor family backgrounds, who are aching to be noticed. There’s the director who’s determined to hide the truth to protect the center. And finally there’s a daughter longing for her mother’s attention. They all have different motivations that may or may not justify their actions, but in the end the justice system decides who must take responsibility.
3. It Only Takes a Single Person to Believe in You to Turn Your Life Around.
From juvie to judge, Cha Tae-joo (Kim Mu-yeol) proves that one can overcome his/her past with the right support. As he said, children who suffered from abuse never grow up because they carry the weight of their past. However, in his case, it only took one person to whip him into shape and eventually change his narrative. One of the most emotional scenes in “Juvenile Justice” is when Cha Tae-joo faces the judge who helped him in his youth.
4. It Takes a Village to Raise a Child.
This African proverb couldn’t be any more true in “Juvenile Justice” as the juvenile offenders in this K-drama were mostly victims of abuse, family neglect, and societal pressures. The gang rape case showed that even the society’s failure to instill discipline and show the consequences of one’s conduct could lead to even more reprehensible actions. Not only does it take a village but a whole nation, including its justice system, to raise a child.