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2021-06-22

진실과 정의의 스테이지, <로스쿨> (JTBC, 2021)

By. 송치혁

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법과 진실은 동의어가 아니었다. <로스쿨>이 법이라는 소재를 드라마 안으로 끌어와 스테이지 화 시킨 이유는 아마도 여기에 있었을 것이다. <로스쿨>이 그리는 학교 안의 풍경은 법조인이 되기 위한 청춘들의 성장 이야기이기도 하지만 서병주(안내상) 살인사건을 둘러싼 사람들의 진실에 관한 이야기이기도 하다. 법 시스템이 인간과 인간 사이의 관계를 어떻게 재정의하는지를 주목하는 <로스쿨>의 기획 의도는 법과 일상의 괴리를 극적으로 그려낸다. 


  이 과정에서 법의 인간성을 보여주는 캐릭터는 양종훈(김명민) 교수다. 소크라테스식 선문답으로 학생들을 극한으로 밀어붙이는 양종훈의 얼굴 뒤에는 냉혹한 법이 가질 수 있는 인간다움이 드리우고 있다. 서병주 검사장의 비리를 밝혀내지 못해 검사복을 벗게 된 양종훈은 학교와 학생들의 갈등을 누구보다 논리적으로 접근한다. 그의 기획 아래 학교, 모의법정, 살해 현장이 무대 위로 올라오며 법이라는 서사 아래 다양한 인간의 얼굴이 교차하는 드라마가 만들어진다. 양종훈이 보여주는 냉정함 뒤의 온기는 법 시스템이 세상을 운영하는 합리성에 대한 믿음을 극적으로 보여준다. 구속 중에도 별다른 동요 없이 시험지를 채점하는 양종훈의 모습은 마치 법이 의인화된 것처럼 보이는 것은 김명민의 배우로서 역량이 극대화된 결과물이기 때문이다. 


  법 시스템에 대한 <로스쿨>의 믿음은 미성숙한 학생들을 드라마의 중심으로 끌어들이면서 더욱 증폭된다. 법조인으로서의 지성적 준비는 끝마쳤으나 실제 사건 앞에서 미성숙한 로스쿨 학생들의 모습은 일반인들과 크게 다르지 않다. 삼촌 서병주와의 불화 끝에 세상에 등을 돌린 한준휘(김범)와 감정을 내세우며 로스쿨에 적응하지 못하는 강솔a(류혜영), 데이트폭력을 당하는 전예슬(고윤정)과 부모의 그늘에서 벗어나지 못하는 강솔b(이수경) 등 <로스쿨> 속의 학생들은 비슷한 나이대의 20대들과는 사뭇 다른 모습을 보여준다. 이 드라마가 청춘 드라마의 문법을 상당 부분 차용하고 있는 것도 공정한 법 뒤에 남겨진 사람들이 가진 얼굴에 주목했기 때문이다. 말하자면 법을 다루는 인간들도 각자의 얼굴을 지니고 있기에 학생들이 일련의 사건들을 통해 법 시스템의 일원으로 편입되는 구조는 이 드라마가 보이는 법에 대한 신뢰를 보여주는 것이기도 하다. 


서병주 살인사건을 계기로 각각의 인물들 속에 잠재된 빛과 어둠은 <로스쿨>이 매력적인 법정 드라마임을 보여주지만, 한편으로 법의 안과 밖에 위치한 사람들의 삶을 곧장 무대로 끌어올리는 것의 위험성을 보여준다. 아동성범죄자 이만호(조재룡)의 어둠을 무대 위에 구현하기 위해 김은숙 교수(이정은)를 유산시키거나 피해자와 기어코 재회하게 만드는 <로스쿨>의 의도적인 서사 전략은 위험하다. 누구나 원하는 대답을 만들기 위한 <로스쿨>의 손쉬운 선택은 드라마가 건네야 하는 근본적인 윤리적 질문을 의도적으로 회피한 것처럼 보이기까지 한다. 


  법은 아무것도 모른다. 바꿔 말하면 법리적 공방을 벌이는 것이 정의와 진실을 확증하는 것과 동일한 행위임을 누구도 확언할 수 없다는 것이다. 법리적 판결은 정의와 진실이라는 보이지 않는 증언에 기반할 수 없다. 그 때문에 드라마 내내 강조되는 죄형법정주의와 무죄추정주의는 법 시스템이 어디에 기반을 두고 있는지를 명확하게 보여준다. 법이 판단하는 것은 오로지 사건의 실정성이다. 진실과 정의는 법의 판결 후 건네져야 할 윤리적 질문을 통해 완성된다. 그런 의미에서 법이 진실과 정의와 동일한 궤도에 놓여있다는 믿음만큼 위험한 것은 없다. 법과 진실, 정의를 같은 궤도 위에 올려놓기 위해 무리하게 스테이지 위로 끌어올린 인간들이 놓친 윤리적 질문은 이제 드라마 밖에 놓인 우리들의 몫인지도 모른다.


Law School, The Stage for Truth and Justice (JTBC, 2021)

 


The law and truth have never been synonyms. This was probably why the show “Law School” created a stage with the law as the central theme. “Law School” deals with the story of young college students who strive to work in the law industry. However, it also deals with details surrounding the people involved in Seo Byungjoo’s (Ahn Nae-sang) murder case. With a focus on how the legal system redefines human relationships, “Law School” attempts to highlight the dramatic gap between law and daily life.

The character that shows a more human side of the law is Professor Yang Jonghoon (Kim Myung-min). Behind the Socrates-like and complex methods Yang Jonghoon uses to push his students beyond their limits, he also portrays the humanistic side that can co-exist with the unforgiving law. Deciding to quit his job as a prosecutor after being unable to prove the Director of the Prosecutor’s Office, Byungjoo was corrupt, he approaches his students’ struggles with a note-worthy logic. 

His impact places the school, mock court, and crime scene on center stage to reveal the many different faces of humans under the guise of law. The warmth that lies beneath Yang Jonghoon’s cold demeanor demonstrates faith in the justice of the legal system that regulates the world. Yang Jonghoon’s character continues to personify law, as he nonchalantly grades exam papers during his imprisonment. This portrayal is the result of Kim Myung-min’s unparalleled competence as an actor.


The faith “Law School’s” demonstrates in the legal system is further amplified by introducing naive students at the core of the narrative. Despite their intellectual preparation to work within the legal system, their inexperience in front of actual cases is no different from anyone else. Han Junhui (Kim Bum), who has turned his back to the world due to the constant discord with his uncle, Seo Byungjoo. Kang Sol (Ryu Hye-young), struggles to get acclimated to law school and lashes out. Jeon Yeseul (Go Yoon Jung), who is in an abusive relationship, and Kang Sol (Lee Soo-kyung), who cannot escape her parents’ shadows, display a somewhat different image from other 20-something students. This show deals heavily with a youth drama narrative because it focuses on the characteristics of the impartial people behind the law. Because those who work within the system have their own identity, these students become a part of the legal system through a string of cases. This is how the show demonstrates trust in the law.


The way Seo Byungjoo's murder case triggers each character's darkness and light demonstrates how thought-provoking the show is. But the way it directly addresses the lives of some of the characters presents some issues. “Law School’s” plot strategy, such as having Professor Kim Eunsook (Lee Jeong-eun) miscarry a child to highlight the pedophile, Lee Manho’s (Cho Jae-ryong) evil nature and forcefully reunite him with the victim plays in dangerous waters. Taking an easy way out by giving expected answers, at times, “Law School” feels like it intentionally avoids fundamental and moral questions that the show should discuss.

The law can’t address everything. In other words, no one can affirm that starting a juridical battle will equate to proving truth and justice. A juridical decision cannot be based on intangible testimonies regarding truth and justice. As such, the emphasis on “no penalty without a law” and “presumption of innocence” clearly demonstrates what the legal system is based upon.

The law only judges based on practicality. Truth and justice materialize through moral questions that should be asked after a verdict is reached. Therefore, nothing is as dangerous as believing that the law sits on two equal plains of truth and justice. Perhaps the consequence is the show’s inability to address the moral questions due to its attempt at placing the law on the same level as truth and justice. Because it forcibly drags characters into the spotlight, it leaves viewers to address these unanswered issues for themselves.