‘One Ordinary Day’: Legal-Crime K-Drama Is Remake of a British Series

Many fan-favorite Korean dramas are original storylines, but a few were already established series in another country. Joining the list is the upcoming 2021 legal-crime K-drama One Ordinary Day. The K-drama is a dark and revealing story of people in power in the legal system versus those at the bottom who cannot afford the protection of the law. Fans of BBC crime television shows will find the K-drama has many similarities to a 2008 series. One Ordinary Day is a remake of BBC’s Criminal Justice that details “the challenges and politics of the criminal justice system,” but through the eyes of the convicted.

Actors Cha Seung-Won and Kim Too-Hyun for 'One Ordinary Day' K-drama shaking hands in jail cell
Actors Cha Seung-Won and Kim Too-Hyun for ‘One Ordinary Day’ K-drama | via Coupang Play

‘Criminal Justice’ involves a teen wrongly accused of murder

The two-season crime drama Criminal Justice first aired on BBC in 2008. The series was a hit and earned itself an International Emmy. Ben Coulter (Ben Whishaw) takes his parent’s cab for an uncomplicated night out that turns into something worse than expected. A young girl enters the cab despite his persistence that he is not an actual cab driver. After a late-night rendevous together after taking ecstasy, Ben finds himself the prime suspect of a murder case.

Hoping to prove he is not guilty, Ben hires his old lawyer, Frances Kapoor (Vineeta Rishi). Frances seems to be the only one who believes Ben in his innocence, as everyone else is against him. The first season chronicles Ben’s time in prison, his trial, and the investigation. Criminal Justice’s second season takes on a new character storyline. A woman goes through trial after stabbing her abusive husband.

‘One Ordinary Day’ has a college student’s life turned upside down and the prime suspect

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The K-drama One Ordinary Day follows the same storyline as Criminal Justice. Actor Kim Hyun-Soo plays one of the lead characters as Kim Soo-Hyun. Soo-Hyun is an ordinary college student who becomes the prime suspect in a murder case. No one is willing to believe his innocence except for Shin Joong-Han, played by Cha Seung-Won. Joong-Hun barely passed the bar exam but is the only one willing to help Soo-Hyun. He represents Soo-Hyun despite never entirely asking him his side of the story.

The first poster for the K-drama revealed the two main characters shaking hands while in a jail cell, sealing their fate. According to Soompi, director Lee Myung-Woo explains the difference between the K-drama and others with similar stories. “‘One Ordinary Day’ will tell the story of people at the bottom level of the criminal justice system who aren’t able to receive protection from the law. It will make viewers put themselves in protagonist Hyun Soo’s shoes and ask, ‘If that were me, what would I have done?’ So I think it’s a drama that people will be able to empathize with more,” said Lee.

Lee goes on to praise his two lead actors and what fans can expect from the legal-crime K-drama. Kim portrays multiple emotions and two different sides of his character. The actor expresses the desperation and relentless need to be found innocent as a suspect, as well as the feelings of an ordinary college student. Lee explains Cha willingly took on a shabby look to his character. The look gives “a meticulous and in-depth portrayal of a lawyer who only cares about money and specializes in petty crime.”

‘One Ordinary Day’ joins other K-dramas based on foreign series

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K-drama can often take inspiration or be based on existing content like popular webtoons. They are also no stranger to being remakes of foreign series. The tvN and Netflix K-drama Designated Survivor: 60 Days is a remake of Designated Survivor, a political drama from 2016. Following a K-drama’s often-used rule of being a limited episode drama, “60 Days” was added to its title. It differentiates its storyline from the original series and takes place in a short time.

Fans of The Good Wife may not have known there is a Korean version available. The 2009 American legal drama was a hit and birthed its spinoff based on one of its main characters, Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies). The 2016 Korean remake of the same name follows a female lawyer. When her husband is arrested, she picks up the pieces and returns to her career as a defense attorney.

One Ordinary Day will premiere in Nov. 2021