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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Juvenile Justice is a South Korean legal drama (subtitled or dubbed into English) about a tough juvenile court judge and her associates as they work through challenging cases. There are discussions of extremely violent criminal acts, often committed against children, by minors and adults. Sexual violence is also a theme. Chases, struggles, blood, body bags, and weapons are sometimes visible. Cursing is frequent, and smoking is visible.
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What's the Story?
JUVENILE JUSTICE is a Korean legal drama featuring a tough juvenile court judge. Shim Eun-seok (Kim Hye-soo) is a judge with an aversion to underage offenders, despite the fact that she's been appointed to the Juvenile Criminal Collegiate Division in the Yeonwa District. As she works alongside the more compassionate associate judge Cha Tae-joon (Kim Mu-yeol), and elite judge Kang Won-joong (Lee Sung-min), who has potential political aspirations, she must find a way to negotiate her biases while fairly adjudicating the difficult cases that come before her in accordance with the law. Shim must also cope with the additional responsibility of monitoring young offenders once they are released from detention, which is also part of her job. It's not an easy balance, and Shim often finds herself approaching each case in her own way in order to hand down the appropriate punishments.
Is It Any Good?
This intense, character-driven legal drama presents a strong cast, solid plot lines, and interesting twists that appeal to universal audiences. It provides a real-life context in which the stories are told, noting the rise in violent crime among children, and the controversies surrounding the South Korean Juvenile Act, which exempts children between the ages from 10-14 from criminal punishment. It also holds overall society accountable for the raising and supporting of children. But Shim Eun-seok (Kim Hye-soo) isn't an easy character to like, let alone agree with. Plus, sometimes the way the laundry lists of horrific criminal details are brought up at different times can weigh down the narrative. But Juvenile Justice still manages to offer its fair share of entertainment if you're looking for a good crime drama to sink your teeth into.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the ways a series or movie from another country can be produced to appeal to U.S. audiences. Is it enough just to tell a good story? Or are there specific elements that a show should (or shouldn't) have in order to boost its popularity among international audiences?
What social commentary does Juvenile Justice offer about the criminal justice system in South Korea? How does this system compare with the laws surrounding youth offenders in the United States? Are there similarities between the two?
- Premiere date: February 25, 2022
- Cast: Kim Hye-soo, Kim Mu-yeol, Sung-min Lee
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
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