'Extraordinary Attorney Woo': Real autistic lawyer comments on accuracy, says ‘we need more’

The K-drama has high TV ratings and is in the top 10 of Netflix for its well-researched portrayal of an autistic lawyer Woo Young-woo


                            'Extraordinary Attorney Woo': Real autistic lawyer comments on accuracy, says ‘we need more’
'Extraordinary Attorney Woo' is a K-drama about South Korea's first autistic lawyer played by Park Eun-bin (@netflixkr/Instagram)
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'Extraordinary Attorney Woo' is everyone’s new favorite K-drama for portraying an autistic character as the main lead. Available on Netflix, international fans are applauding the well-researched K-drama and its actress Park Eun-bin who plays Woo Young-woo, the first autistic lawyer in South Korea. As someone with autism spectrum disorder, the K-drama shows Woo Young-woo struggling to be seen as an equal despite her high IQ, photographic memory, same qualifications and ability to win cases. Her lack of social skills, low EQ and love for whales had several neurodivergent viewers relating with her.

And along with the usual K-drama lovers, we had a real autistic lawyer giving her take on 'Extraordinary Attorney Woo' and why it was an important show. There hasn’t been much representation for those who have autism and when there is, they are usually mocked or shown to be an extreme case for the sake of a plot twist. Well, Haley Moss, Florida’s first autistic lawyer revealed that the writers’ research had paid off and that drama had indeed done justice to Woo Young-woo as someone with autism in a fast-paced profession.

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Haley Moss, the first autistic lawyer of Florida speaks on the K-drama (@haleymossart/Twitter)
Haley Moss, the first autistic lawyer in Florida speaks on the K-drama (@haleymossart/Twitter)

Accuracy of 'Extraordinary Attorney Woo'

In an interview with The Korea Herald, Moss related to 'Extraordinary Attorney Woo's Young-woo and how her own colleagues had treated her differently when they were told she is autistic rather than when she topped her class. The lawyer shared, “Some people who have autistic kids treated me like a little kid, not as one of their colleagues. Even though I went to the same law school, passed the same bar exam and met the same qualifications for the profession, I often felt that I had to prove myself more to get the same respect and opportunity that anybody else is getting.”

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'Extraordinary Attorney Woo' also accurately portrayed Young-woo’s need to wear noise-cancelling headphones to avoid sensory overload which Moss did too. The lawyer could also sympathise with Young-woo’s need for a routine from eating the same food every day to her love for whales. Moss said, “This kind of obsessive joy is something I experienced a lot from drawing.” And while it has been an overused trope, there are some autistic people who have a photographic memory and ability to think out of the box that helped in solving cases as seen in 'Extraordinary Attorney Woo' and Moss’ real life.

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Need for realistic portrayal

The lawyer also found it refreshing that Young-woo was not some old soul giving out nuggets of wisdom but a human being who made mistakes just like anyone else and learned from them. She shared why this was important, “What usually happens in media is that we focus on autistic people who don’t seem like humans with full personality and interests. We don‘t get the same opportunity.”

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Haley Moss applauded Korean media for speaking up about autism and hoped that more autistic people would be involved in the production of such dramas as well, “We need more positive portrayals of (autistic people). I‘d love to see some autistic actors, perhaps in another season, or more in the show.”

Viewers can watch ‘Extraordinary Attorney Woo’ on Netflix.

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