Ghetto Justice <怒火街頭>
TVB Series 2011
Cast: Kevin Cheng, Myolie Wu, Sharon Chan, Sam Lee, Eddie Kwan, Mandy Wong, Jazz Lam, Joyce Tang, Shek Shau, and others.
Remarks: This is a watch-as-I-write-from-memory episodic thought (a combination of episode summaries, reviews & critical analysis episode per episode) and therefore please take note that this write-up will contain MAJOR SPOILERS for this particular episode and some creative license was used when recreating certain scenes or dialogue. Please refrain from revealing future SPOILERS in this episode.
I do think each or every few episodes can be categorized into a title. So this episode and soon a few to follow will be known as…
The Prosecutor vs Lai Muk Kan & Ma Cheuk Yee Tak
The case : The murder of 28-year-old Sheung Chau Ping by first accused, aided and abetted by the second accused
Counsel for the state : The prosecutor, name unknown
Defense : Law Ba (Lai Muk Kan) & Kris (Ma Cheuk Yee Tak)
But first the recap.
Kris was somewhere when she bumped into arrogant barrister Spencer and rushed to him and introduced herself and he seemed interested in her when suddenly somewhat say “Yu tan mui!”
“Yu tan” is fish ball. Her mom sells fish ball, so that’s her nickname.
Kris immediately cringe and turned and it was a local guy (not sure of his name) and he happily said “Wow, good to see you here Yu Tan Mui!” and Spencer now looked very disgusted with that fact as the guy said, “Have you been to Sham Shui Po? Her mom sells the best fish ball ever! You must drop by sometimes,” and Spencer lost all interest and begin to move away as Kris felt her chance has just slipped away.
Law Ba was driving in Shum Shui Po (aka SSP), like some politician waving at the locals who waved back, and happily driving his van when he heard a loud crash and BOOM! There was a young woman, knife stabbed into her (I believe heart or somewhere) and having fell, of course died. Law Ba rushed out and we see the coffee shop guy in episode 1 (the one with the dog and it turns out he isn’t a coffee shop guy at all so my mistake) came out and looking strained and scared and kept saying, “I didn’t mean to kill her… I didn’t mean to kill her…” and Law Ba looked at him shocked at the turn of events.
In the police station, Law Ba sat by now we know his name as Uncle Kan and Law Ba, said “Don’t be scared, just tell the truth,” and Uncle Kan said, “I am a driver for Mrs. Ma,” and Mrs. Ma here is Ma Cheuk Yee Tak, a socialite, wife of a rich businessman. “I went to see Sheung Chau Ping; she seduced my boss and I pitied Mrs. Ma so I decided to confront that woman on behalf of Mrs. Ma, who was becoming too depressed over the affair and I felt bad for her. All she wanted me to do was to stand up for her, which I did. I didn’t mean to kill her but in the end … I did,” and Law Ba just stared at him, not convinced by his story at all.
Law Ba and cousin, George, saw and heard a young man ranting in the police station, “Why not arrest that bitch, Ma Cheuk Yee Tak? She’s the one who ordered my uncle to kill my sister, Sheung Chau Ping! Why arrest my uncle only?!” Later they went to see him, he was a mobile phone seller in his own shop (is that the same dude as in episode 1 computer shop? No?) and they introduced themselves and asked, “Why are you so convinced Mrs. Ma was involved?” and the man said, “Because my sister received threatening letters every since the accusations of affairs arose,” and they asked, “She wasn’t Mr. Ma’s mistress?” and he said loudly, “He seduced my sister! My sister didn’t seduce him! That crazy Mrs. Ma threatened my sis with these crazy letters; I didn’t show my sis because I didn’t want to scare her…” and he pulled out the letters where there were bed pictures, pictures of a corpse, etc, quite graphic and the man continued, “Uncle Kan may have helped her, but I tell you, that woman Mrs. Ma was the real culprit who ordered Uncle Kan to do it!”
Kris is desperate to get into Spencer Cheung (didn’t really hear his name as Spencer but since Wiki says it is, so it shall be!) and his social circle and this her best friend cum assistant cum roommate knows very well. But she reminded Kris, “Well, how was your mom’s case?” and Kris said, “Settled,” and friend said, “Wow, your idol Law Lik Ah really has some tricks up his sleeves then!” and and Kris grimaced at that name and said “Please don’t mention that ‘dei poon lou.”
Ok, pause a bit.
At first I wrote “Lai sui lo” but she actually said “Dei Poon Lou” which both is literally construction worker, meaning in this context someone who dresses low class, works in low paying job, looks disheveled and is classless. Oh Kris, how dare you call Law Ba a Dei Poon Lou?! You’re also “tam mou hui wing” aka materialistic and greedy. But only in the sense she is desperate to be successful. Anyway, continue…
“He is nothing. Don’t ever mention him. He just used to simple ordinary tricks to settle the matter. I could have settled it as well,” and her friend teased, “Isn’t that your current idol?” and Kris quickly turned and knew she was being teased as she said, “Please stop that…Don’t tease me. I need to align myself with the likes of Spencer. I have been a barrister for a good few years and yet I am still small league. I want to be in the big league!” and suddenly her friend said, “It is your idol,” and Kris didn’t believe until her friend nudged her and indeed, it was super arrogant Spencer walking past towards a set of stairs when Kris practically leaped right in front of him (oh so desperately!) and said, “Hi! I am Kris Wong. You mentioned that I could give you my opinion on the case you are working on which I did. Did you manage to read it?” and arrogant Spencer looked everywhere but at her said arrogantly in an arrogant voice (I think you know what I mean); “Every day, I received dozens of proposals and opinion, I don’t have the time or the inclination to read them all. I wouldn’t have known which one is yours anyway,” and Kris said, “Well.. why not we sit down and I could tell you now?” and she moved towards the stairs, one leg there when arrogant Spencer s.a.i.a.a.v (aka said arrogant in an arrogant voice); “Only the members of this exclusive VIP club can sit and enjoy the facilities at the second floor. You’re not a VIP. Who was your master?” and Kris said some name and Spencer s.a.i.a.a.v; “Not a regular in court, not even a well known barrister. Girl, you’re not even in my circle of league,” and he walked up the stairs whilst Kris was left with one leg on the stairs completely and utterly humiliated.
Well, she deserves that really. Law Ba wouldn’t have cared, at all.
Whilst walking back to office, Kris and friend (I really need to find out her name) saw a bunch of reporters and out came a woman that Kris knew was Mrs. Ma. Rather young. Mrs. Ma was surrounded, being asked to comment on the case and Kris just coolly seized the opportunity and walked right in front of Mrs. Ma and said, “Mrs. Ma has suffered greatly from her husband’s alleged adulterous affair and the subsequent accusations of murder. She is also a victim. Please do respect her need for privacy,” and coolly steered Mrs. Ma into a waiting car, she went in also and halfway through Mrs. Ma said, “Thank you very much for your help. You’re…” and Kris said, “I am Kris Wong and Mrs. Ma, you don’t need to worry about the charges. The prosecution doesn’t have a case” and Mrs. Ma solemnly said, “No one believes me, they think I asked Uncle Kan to kill that woman,” and Kris said, “I believe you didn’t do that. I truly do. You were very upset with that woman seducing your husband, so naturally you dislike her but to order someone to kill her, I find that hard to believe,” and Mrs. Ma said gratefully, “Thank you for believing me. I can’t believe Uncle Kan would do that…” and Kris asked, “Who is Uncle Kan to you?” and she said “Uncle Kan is my driver. He knew of all my pains and sorrows, due to this affair. I often cried in front of Uncle Kan, I didn’t know what to do. I tried talking to her to leave my husband but she refused. She flatly refused. How am I to fight with such a young attractive woman? I am not young anymore. Uncle Kan knew of my pain and he offered to talk to that woman on my behalf. I just never expected that he would kill her…” and Kris said, “From what you told me, Uncle Kan acted alone. I believe you,” and Mrs. Ma said, “You seem to know a lot about the law,” and Kris said, “I am a barrister, here is my card, if you need anything you can call me,” and in front of Mrs. Ma’s house, some guy rushed to the car and said, “Mrs. Ma! The police are here!” and Kris said, “If there is a time you need legal representation, this is it” and Mrs. Ma said, “You will be my lawyer from now on” and Kris of course happily smiled.
In the court, Magistrate I believe to record the plea when Kris, smartly dressed, bumped into George and a very dishevelled looking Law Ba. He really looked terrible and yawned and of course his breath smelled and Kris and assistant quickly covered their noses when Law Ba said apologetically, “Sorry! I didn’t have time to brush my teeth. Never had to be awake so early before,” and Kris exasperated said “You didn’t brush your teeth?!” and George handed Law Ba a mouth spray which he sprayed and as Kris walked away Law Ba said, “By the way, good for you for being Mrs. Ma’s counsel, quite a good move,” and Kris offended retorted, “What? You think she didn’t hire me because I was good at what I do? Well I will tell you this; she did!” and Law Ba smiled and said, “You have mistaken my meaning! I was complimenting you! Even though strangely, Mrs. Ma could have the service of the many top lawyers from her husband’s group of companies, and yet she chose you, obviously because she didn’t want to use her husband’s group of lawyers, especially her husband could have had an affair with the victim and may be involved somewhat,” and Kris retorted “What are you implying?” and Law Ba said, “Just saying, just saying,” and Kris walked close to him and said, “If I were you, I will be very afraid. After all you haven’t been in court for 7 years. Try not to get yourself thrown out like the last time and end up hurting your client’s chances,” and she walked away and Law Ba turned solemn and flashback!!
Law Ba in full barrister garb, angrily pointing, arrogantly scolding the opponent lawyer, “YOU ARE RIDICULOUS! IS THIS YOUR SO CALLED CASE? USELESS!! AND YOU! YOU IMBECILE! HOW CAN YOU COME OUT WITH SUCH A DECISION! YOU ARE USELESS!!!!” and threw his fake white hair at the judge who angrily said, “You’re in contempt of court! Bailiff, drag him out of my court!!” and Law Ba shouted, “NO NEED! I WILL WALK OUT MYSELF!!!” and so he left.
Present time. Law Ba looked wary, but he put on his tie, his jacket, and as he walked into the court room that he avoided for 7 years, George said, “Cousin, if you do get kicked out of the court this time, I will not raise any objection,” and Law Ba smiled wearily.
Pause here. I think he must have been suspended for what he did and said to the judge. Very rude and arrogant indeed, and angry but may I say this much at this juncture; Kevin Cheng can’t do angry. He was awful as angry.
In the court room, judge (same dude from episode 1) came out and sat down, charges read. Uncle Kan undeniably killed the victim. Mrs. Ma is said to have ordered for the kill, considered as serious and will carry the same max sentence and both are charged for murder.
Law Ba entered not guilty, Kris also the same. Judge ordered both to be denied bail and locked up in some correctional facilities and Mrs. Ma panicked as Kris explained, “Mrs. Ma has heart ailment; she needs constant medical attention and she is a well known person. I beg your honor to allow her to be placed in a hospital instead of a correctional facility,” and Mrs. Ma now crying begged not to be taken away to some jail and suddenly, dramatically grabbed her chest and fainted. Uncle Kan looked very worried and tried to move towards Mrs. Ma as Kris cried, “Your honor, she needs a doctor!” and the judge cried, “Call an ambulance now!” and in all these chaos, Law Ba coolly turned to George and asked “Did you see what happened?” and George said, “Yeah, right on cue, she fainted. Quite a good actress,” and Law Ba said, “I don’t mean Mrs. Ma, I mean Uncle Kan” and we see Uncle Kan looking way too worried for Mrs. Ma.
Yeah, why is Uncle Kan so damn concerned about that woman? Which is probably Law Ba’s question as well.
In the hospital, Mrs. Ma looked stressed and Mr. Ma wanted to see her and got to see her after Kris spoke to the officer on duty and Mr. Ma said, “Are you ok? Are you ok?!” and Mrs. Ma said, “I am fine,” and Mr. Ma said, “I am so sorry for putting you through this….” and Mrs. Ma said, “It isn’t your fault,” and Kris said, “Mr. Ma, if you continue like this, our chance of winning is very high,” and Mr. Ma looked at Kris curiously as Kris explained, “You must show full support for Mrs. Ma, that you believe she didn’t order the murder,” and Mr. Ma cried, “Of course, I believe her!! It all started with that stupid rumor, that affair when I didn’t even touch that Sheung Chau Ping!” and to his wife, “I will engage our panel lawyers; they will know what to do,” and Kris looked stricken for a while when Mrs. Ma said, “If a lawyer is good, I don’t need dozens, I just need one,” and Kris was happy Mrs. Ma stuck by her.
Kris at the pub drinking and friend chit chatted with her, “It was good of Mrs. Ma to stand up for you against her husband,” as Kris said, “You know, I don’t need connections to make my own name,” and Victor that arrogant Spencer’s protégé walked past and said, “Indeed, and very smart of you to align yourself to Mrs. Ma in this case. Who would have thought, Mrs. Ma, the woman who dresses herself in branded names, surrounded with top notch famous lawyers and yet chose an unknown and untested barrister? Of course, I congratulate you on your brilliant move. But let’s not forget, your opponent is the legendary LA Law, once the most brilliant litigator even if 7 years have passed. Many are very interested to see how he fares, after 7 years,” and Kris said dismissively, “He is nothing,” and Victor said, “Even my master thinks highly of him,” and the bartender asked, “Who is this LA Law?” and Victor said, “A brilliant litigator who never losses on a technical point,” and bartender asked, “Win is win, lose is lose,” and Kris explained, “What he meant is you can fight a murder charge on technicalities and get it reduced to manslaughter, that is the case of winning on technical point,” and Victor said, “And none more celebrated than the unwinnable case, remember?” and I can’t remember whether Kris or Victor said this but what was said was, “Remember that guy where every single witness and evidence pointed to him as the murderer of his wife? But LA Law was so brilliant in turning the table against the chief witness, the victim’s brother,” and flashback we see Law Ba in his barrister garb and practically shouting at the witness and pointing and said, “You loved your sister! You desired her! You were jealous of the accused. You couldn’t stand that she loved him and not you and so you killed her! Admit it! YOU KILLED HERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!” and the poor guy cried and said, “I admit I loved her and I shouldn’t have done what I did,” and the bartender asked “What happened to the brother then?” and Victor said, “Police couldn’t find enough evidence to charge him,” and the bartender said, “So no one knew what really happened then? Was it the brother who did it?” and Victor said, “Until now, the case is unsolved,” and bartender asked, “And you’re all ok with such lowly tactics?” and no one answered but kept drinking as bartender said, “Surely you can’t agree with that man’s tactics? What then of the victim? Did anyone care about the victim?” and they drank some more.
True. No one cares. In the end Law Ba won his case and that was all that matters.
Law Ba and George went to visit Uncle Kan and Law Ba straight to the point asked, “Why are you so concerned for Mrs. Ma? You should have seen your face, you looked too concerned,” and Uncle Kan said, “I don’t know what you mean….” and Law Ba said, “Tell me the truth. Tell me everything, why and how and where and when if you want me to help you,” and Uncle Kan said, “Ok…. I am Mrs. Ma’s driver for many years. I am not an educated man, but she stuck by me, giving me increment every year with year end bonus. I was very touched by her for being such a good employer. One day she knew and saw Sheung Chau Ping coming out of a motel, fixing her clothes, disheveled. You don’t need to be a genius to guess what happened in there. Mrs. Ma tried to talk to that woman, even gave her a check, but I don’t know what that woman said but Mrs. Ma slapped her. After that every time I see Mrs. Ma, her face is awash with tears. I couldn’t stand looking at her that way so I decided to look for that woman. On the rooftop, I didn’t mean to kill her… but I did…” and Law Ba was confused as he said, “You didn’t mean to kill her, but you did so what actually happened? What happened between didn’t mean to kill her to actually killing her? What happened that day?” and Uncle Kan was being very emotional said, “I just did!!!” and Law Ba said, “In your earlier ,you said you spoke to Mrs. Ma prior to that… did she order you?” and Uncle Kan cried and said, “Did I say that? No I didn’t speak with her! I want to change my statement, can I?” and Law Ba was very angry and stood up and shouted, “How can you be so simplistic? How can you take all the blame for yourself?!” but the police told him to sit down as Uncle Kan I think mentioned about his sick wife in the villages in China and Law Ba said, “Well, why don’t we ask Mrs. Kan then, maybe she can provide us with information we needed,” and suddenly Uncle Kan exploded and shouted, “DON’T YOU INVOLVE MY WIFE!! SHE DOESN’T KNOW! SHE IS JUST SOME VILLAGE HOUSEWIFE, SHE DOESN’T KNOW ANYTHING!!! LET HER BE!!!” and George tried to calm Uncle Kan and Law Ba looked shocked as he said, “Ok ok, I won’t call your wife.”
Law Ba and his 3 friends sat together for tea discussing about the case when Ka Fu (Sam Lee) said, “That woman is scary, to be able to convince Uncle Kan to kill that victim,” but Eddie aka But Chik (Seriously what’s with all these funny names?!) said “Oh come on, maybe Uncle Kan did do it himself and wasn’t ordered? Maybe she really is an innocent housewife?” and everyone disagreed with him as Law Ba requested But Chik to investigate something which I can’t remember, I think maybe about Uncle Kan’s wife which they believe is connected with Uncle Kan being very evasive and taking all the blame, but what I can remember is But Chik wasn’t very ambitious, still a small time policeman because he lacked ambition and courage which something Ka Fu scolded him for when he got a call and it was I suppose from his girlfriend who wanted to go shopping and But Chik pretended he was terribly busy with big investigations like rape and murder when his usual case is family matter, custody battles. Law Ba teased “Well big inspector, now you must help me to investigate!” and in the end But Chik agreed.
In prison Uncle Kan was visited by a woman who cryptically said, “She has forgiven you for your mistake; that statement to the police, and she will continue to care for your wife…but you must do something for her in return to clean up this mess…” and Uncle Kan looked both grateful and fearful.
Later, at Auntie King’s shop, 3 dudes sat together and lamented on the headlines and one young guy I think is related to Uncle Kan and I think same guy as the one who called her Yu Tan Mui said, “How can Mrs. King’s daughter help to defend that woman? Obviously she set my uncle up!” and the old men agreed when Kris was back and young man confronted her and said, “Hey Yu Tan Mui (a clear insult in this context). Are you our own SSP locals? Or has that ambition of yours got to your head? How can you defend that woman?!” and Auntie King stepped in front and said, “Don’t you dare talk to my daughter that way! She is just doing her duty! It is not a matter whether she is SSP local or not, a case is a case. Look, I don’t want to do your business! Get out!” and they all left. Kris said, “Thanks mom for speaking up for me,” and Auntie King said “Fu, you can’t blame them for saying what they said. There are so many cases, why this case? Why must you take this case?” and Kris said, “Mother, this is once in a lifetime opportunity for me to establish my name. You already know, work is hard to come by if you don’t have an established name and my office rent in Central isn’t cheap,” and Auntie King said, “Why not be like Barrister Law who set up his office here at SSP? You can be more like him,” and Kris said, “Mother, he is nothing. I want more than that, mother. Don’t worry about me. I can handle it,” but Auntie King wasn’t too sure and wow, Kris does have a very low opinion of Law Ba.
he was walking home, when again she bumped into that young man who said, “Yu Tan Mui… eat this!!” and he threw a bowl of noodle towards her and she was spooked and not able to run in time but someone put his hands out and diverted the bowl and Kris looked to her right and saw Law Ba, on his head the noodles. The guy was very apologetic and said, “Barrister Law! I am so sorry! This isn’t meant for you, why you have to interfere?!” and Kris angrily said, “YOU! I will sue you!!” and Law Ba coolly shook away the noodle and pushed Kris away with a smile and said, “What is it with you and suing people? Come on, it is ok, no big deal, and you, don’t ever do that again! Go go,” and the guy ran away and Kris walked with Law Ba and said, “Why you protect him? I should have him arrested!” and Law Ba smiled and said, “And why would you do that? When you took this case you already know you will offend the SSP locals; you must be ready for the consequences. Take my advice; next time come home later when the street is deserted, that way you can avoid the wrath of the locals,” and Kris said, “Who says I am afraid?!” when a car stopped in front of her, panicking she jumped away, clearly scared of the local’s wrath and Law Ba smiled when it was George in the car and George said urgently, “Uncle Kan tried to kill himself in prison!” Quickly, they rushed to prison hospital and there was Uncle Kan on the bed, clear mark on his neck as the doctor explained, “He tried to hang himself.” Law Ba moved towards Uncle Kan and said, “Uncle Kan, why are you doing this to yourself? Tell me how I can help you! Tell me! Someone visited you… someone told you to do something…” and Uncle Kan was very emotional as he cried loudly, “Why won’t you let me die? I want to die! Why won’t you?! WHY?! I want to dieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!” and he was trashing so violently Law Ba and George were both spooked and taken aback and really funny how every time there is some danger, George is always covering Law Ba with himself and Law Ba used George’s hand to wipe his own sweat as he looked at Uncle Kan, eyes wide with shock, unable to understand why Uncle Kan is being so stubborn and now so suicidal.
Seriously funny last scene which shows how close George is to Law Ba and how protective he is.
Next episode! Mystery! Intrigue! Kidnap! Law Ba and friends found out why Uncle Kan is so evasive and they decided to “kidnap” Uncle Kan’s wife!
I really enjoyed this episode. I like how Law Ba approaches things and I also like the fact that he is sort of a coward because any explosive stuff, he will jump back and George is there to shield him. Not to say he is a bad person but it is a natural reaction. I also like how protective he is of Kris and in his own way trying to advise her but she just seems stuck in her bad impression of him and sees him as nothing more than a fiend aka “Dei Poon Lou” because of how he behaves and dresses. She places too much importance on image and I am sure when she losses this case she will learn the power of Law Ba and be humbled by it. I am not saying she is ashamed of her roots, she is just very ambitious and as she said, her roots is pulling her back.
And yes, I do think that Mrs. Ma is manipulative and a sociopath. That sort so manipulative that she will want things her way and her way only. I also think Uncle Kan did kill the poor stupid girl. I find one scene rather funny; in the prison, Uncle Kan kept saying he didn’t want to kill her but he ended up killing her and it was very cryptic since like Law Ba, I wondered what happened between not wanting and eventually did? It is hard to translate that sentence but in pinyin it is ,”Ngo ng seung sat hui dan hai ngo chi chung sat jor hui,” which is more rich in subtext than the English translation but it is basically how I translated it. Curious sentence!! I was like so Uncle Kan, if you didn’t want to so why eventually you did? We shall find out in the next episode!
So far I really enjoyed this series, the case is possible, the process seems legit. However, this episode’s greatness is marred by one fact; the Law Ba flashbacks. I know he was some angry, fearless, and arrogant dude in the past, the way he was described he seems like some legendary sort of barrister with great advocacy skills but the flashback court scenes were awfully done. I mean if a lawyer spoke like that, he would be seized since he did throw something at the judge. And the way he questioned the witness, it is called badgering and the prosecutor should have been shown shouting his objection for more realism. There is no eloquence in that scene when I expected that from a legendary barrister so to speak. It didn’t help that Kevin Cheng, good as he was as scared, laid back, shocked, surprised, weary, wary, funny, handsome, cute… he isn’t convincing as uncouth and he certainly isn’t convincing as an arrogant angry top notch barrister. As long as Kevin doesn’t shout, he is ok. Unfortunately, his acting skills is still questionable for those scenes. I think originally Law Ba must have been written as someone who is a thug like uncouth barrister who in the past was someone fearless arrogant and ultimately some stylish dude but Kevin managed to portray some but not the others so Law Ba came off as mostly laid back and in the past mostly angry.
Myolie fared better with her need to climb the social ladder and she is convincing as Kris the social climber.
The worst had to be Shek Sau. Can that man do anything but glare?
The rest are great supporting actors except for Eddie Kwan who is too old for such role. More like for comic relief.
But the true star tonight is first Claire Yiu as the manipulative Mrs. Ma (very convincing as someone very innocent looking) and of course Chan Wing Chun as Uncle Kan who displayed the fear, the anguish, the reluctance, the evasiveness convincingly.
I am really into this series now! And I just found out Law Ba and cousin, both with different offices ultimately take cases from the SSP Civic Legal Advice Centre (Wiki says so) which explains why Ka Fu, the social worker is always there.
So are you watching this series with me? Because I am sure I must have missed out some scenes and I do think I might have messed up some scenes in terms of which came first. Do tell!!
This Episodic Thoughts was written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com, and was originally posted at Point2e.com.