Episodic Thoughts: Ghetto Justice (Episode 4)

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.

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) 

The end for this case is in sight. Not much to recap since this is mostly on Kris and her legal/moral dilemma as every lawyer will face at least once in their career, however short or illustrious. 

Kris is in a dilemma. Yes I know I said that, but again to emphasize, Kris is REALLY in a dilemma. She has doubts; is Mrs. Ma as innocent as she made out to be? She isn’t sure and her friend/assistant, the girl now with a name, Silvia I can’t remember what she said but something to the effect her dilemma is just a dilemma, she is still Mrs. Ma’s lawyer, so better not ponder too much on that. 

Anyway Kris and Silvia were on the way to see Mrs. Ma in court when she saw the assistant, Lee, I believe panicking big time when her mistress’ one tiny sleeve button was lost. In fact she looked so scared and Kris said, “Don’t worry, it is just a button, I am sure Mrs. Ma will understand,” and assistant now trembling said, “No, no, you don’t understand. I can lose my job over this; my husband will be affected too. Mrs. Ma demands perfection. Please, can you go to court and don’t tell Mrs. Ma about the button. I think I left it in the house, I will go have a look,” and so she did and Kris and Silvia couldn’t believe what they were seeing. 

Meanwhile in restaurant Law Ba and 3 friends were having supper and reliving the dramatic moment Uncle Kan fell to his knees begging. They knew Mrs. Ma was someone that is pretentious. Law Ba happily announced Auntie Kan’s condition does not need surgery, with medicine her tumor will shrink and everyone was very happy to hear that. 

At Sheung Chau Ping grave, Law Ba and George and I think Fu was there, can’t remember with Auntie Kan in  a wheelchair. Flowers placed on her grave and Auntie Kan cried, “I may not have killed you but it was because of me you were killed. How can I ever repay this sin?” and the brother, Sheung Chau Shang appeared and Law Ba introduced them and the brother solemnly said, “That woman did push Uncle Kan to kill my sister, but in the end your husband was the one who killed my sister. That I can never forgive,” and he gave back the flowers to them and Auntie Kan looked stricken. As Law Ba pushed her along someone said, “Don’t put his rejection to heart Auntie Kan, be careful with your health,” as Auntie Kan solemnly said, “A young girl in her prime, died for no good reason, how can I not feel his rejection? How can I not understand his pain? This is my sin and I can never live down this sin….” 

Auntie Kan is a good woman. 

I think as they went out they saw Mr. Ma with flowers and Mr. Ma looked guilty. My question is did he tried to rape the victim?? Still a bastard though, however rich he may be. 

Back to Mrs. Ma in the lockup and Mr Ma was there to see her and Mrs Ma blamed Mr Ma for everything. “If you didn’t sleep with that slut, I wouldn’t be here!! It’s your fault!!” and Mr Ma coolly said “Hold your temper. You know your temper, if others see this real you, you will lose your case,” and Mrs. Ma angrily whispered, “You are only here because you had to. You’re not here voluntarily; you must have visited her grave right? Even after death, you still would go to that slut!!” and Mr. Ma said, “How many times do I have to repeat myself; I did not have an affair with her! Think whatever you like!!” and Mrs. Ma so angry took the phone and banged so hard on the glass panel separating her and Mr. Ma that the glass actually cracked!! Outside Mr. Ma saw Kris and Silvia, who heard the exchange and he looked at them sheepishly and said, “You’ve heard everything? Please do your best in court,” and he left and Kris and Silvia walked in and saw the cracked glass and stared at it for a very long time. 

Kris again in a dilemma. She now questions the true nature of Mrs. Ma. But before that she interviewed the assistant, and under pressure from Kris intense glare, the assistant confessed, “Yes, I was in that room when Mrs. Ma was talking to Uncle Kan,” and asked why she was there she finally confessed when Kris showed her the evidence (which was easy to check); “I heard Mr. Ma will be buying a company. I wanted to earn some money so I went into the study room to look for the documents and then Mrs. Ma came in… Please don’t expose me! I just wanted to earn extra money! Please don’t!” Kris’ only advice to her was, “Always, always tell the truth.” I think in her heart Kris knew what she had to do. 

Pause here. 

I don’t think she revealed what was said, but then Kris did something you may think is stupid, but I think was her way to test Mrs. Ma. She took the assistant to see Mrs. Ma and revealed, “Mrs. Ma, we have a new witness; your assistant was in the study room when you were talking to Uncle Kan…” and she revealed why the assistant was there and then demanded the assistant to reveal what Mrs. Ma said but before that Mrs. Ma stopped her and said, “Barrister, may I speak with her privately?” and Kris said, “No because she is here on my application, you can only see a non barrister in the visiting room after applying for it,” and Mrs. Ma said, “Can you then please do so?” and later, Mrs. Ma happily said, “Barrister Wong, great news! I have a witness to prove I did not tell Uncle Kan to kill the victim but in fact I did try to stop Uncle Kan! I have forgiven my assistant for her stealing corporate information, and I only hope she tells the truth in court as my witness,” and Kris looked at assistant who looked sheepish. 

In a restaurant, Kris was in a meeting with Mr. Ma, who said clearly, “Thank you for fighting this case for my wife. I have seen your performance; you were excellent.” Kris said, “Thank you,” and Mr. Ma continued, “However, I shall  need to answer to my board of directors and shareholders. My wife and I can’t  be seen using the same panel of solicitors, since the accusation against her is very serious. There must be a line drawn. I hope you understand…” and Kris nodded and knew her chance of working for Mr. Ma was over whether she wins or lose the case. 

Kris is now in MAJOR dilemma. She knows Mrs. Ma is lying. She knows Mrs. Ma is the culprit. Now she wonders what is she gonna do? She went shopping. She bought many many things and in the end her assistant said, “You will always face this dilemma; this will not be your last,” and Kris said, “But my career will be over if I expose her… ” and then she thought about it and finally decided, “Well, it has been decided for me. I will continue with the case. I have no choice; I just ran up thousands on credit card…” 

Kris went back to Auntie King’s shop and gave her mother packages of food. Auntie King said, “Dear, you don’t need to buy so much for me. Take home for yourself. And I know you work very hard; stop spoiling your siblings. Save some money. I don’t need that much. Remember why your father named you Si Fu, remember your roots dear.” 

And so Kris’ dilemma was settled. 

In court assistant on the stand. Law Ba has no objection to this last minute witness. Kris quite simply went through the questions, where she was, what she was doing, what she heard… but when the assistant was asked what she heard she froze. She couldn’t answer; her guilty conscience was fighting with her need for survival. Kris asked again and again, reminding the witness, “You only need to tell the truth,” no answer and Law Ba immediately knew something was not right. Kris asked her if she wanted to rest for a while and assistant now nearly in tears nodded and the judge asked Law Ba, who immediately stood up and said, “I object your honor. I did not object to her sudden inclusion on the witness list, therefore I object to the Defense for the 2nd accused wasting anymore time.” Rightly so!! And so judge asked witness if she is ok, witness finally nodded yes. Kris just sat down. Law Ba knew the opportunity has come for him, and of course Kris gave him that as Law Ba thundered through his questions and finally the witness broke down, cried and said as we see Mrs. Ma herself in the flashback, “You will do as I say! I want you to get rid of that slut! GET RID OF HER!! If you don’t do this, don’t expect me to pay for your wife’s medical bills. Either the slut dies, or your wife dies! You decide! Knife her!! Knife herrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and the court were in silence as the assistant cried very hard and Mrs. Ma was stunned by the betrayal…. 


Uncle Kan guilty of manslaughter. Mrs. Ma guilty of murder. Mrs. Ma cried, “No, no, I can’t be guilty of murder! That slut! She asked for it! She asked for it!! She seduced my husband! I wasn’t wrong!!!” and Uncle Kan finally faced her in the dock and tearfully and angrily said, “ENOUGH!!! WE ARE WRONG!! WE TOOK AN INNOCENT LIFE!! WE ARE WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and Mrs. Ma was stunned by Uncle Kan’s sudden burst of anger and said nothing further. 

Pause here. 

Curious; how can someone who actually did the act get much lesser than the one who pushed the person to do the act? It should be the other way around. Both should be manslaughter because he did knife her. Mrs. Ma may have pushed him, but she didn’t knife that poor girl. So culpability of a person who did the killing can’t be lesser than the one who told him to do the killing. Everything else is a mitigating factor so I find this verdict strange. 

Outside the court, the assistant ran up to Kris and Silvia and smiled, “Barrister Wong, thank you. Thank you very much. I can breathe easier now, rather than carry that heavy burden with me,” and Kris knew the ICAC or someone is investigating that assistant and the assistant said, “I am ready to face the law,” and Kris said, “If you need legal counsel, you know where to find me. It will be my pleasure to represent you,” and the assistant said “I will remember that,” and the assistant happily left. 

At her mom’s restaurant or somewhere, she saw Law Ba being congratulated on his win as we are told Uncle Kan got 7 years imprisonment whilst Mrs. Ma got a life sentence and she didn’t feel any jealousy. Then that local, Uncle Kan’s nephew saw Kris and taunted her. “What sort of a lawyer who will help the oppressor against our locals? Unlike Law Ba, the people’s lawyer, unlike others, for money and fame will do anything to bury their conscience,” and Law Ba smiled and said, “Hey enough! Enough!” and Kris just walked on, half smiling. 

Kris was walking when Mr. Ma’s car drove up and she went in and Mr. Ma said, “My company is in need of a legal advisor and I am offering you this position,” and Kris baffled said “But Mr. Ma, I lost the case. You once said I can never represent your company if I am Mrs. Ma’s lawyer and Mrs. Ma will be appealing the sentence….” and Mr. Ma said, “Have you forgotten? I will not use my wife’s lawyer. You are no longer her lawyer. My wife will never use the same lawyer who disappoints her. Welcome to the company,” and yet Kris did not feel any joy at what she had worked so hard to get… 

In her mom’s restaurant, waiting for her noodle when Law Ba walked in, sat next to her and smilingly acknowledged Kris’ contribution to his win and then said, “Auntie King, two bowls of noodles please!” and Auntie King said, “So much?” and Law Ba said, “One for your daughter! My treat!” and Auntie King happily said, “Of course!!” and alone, Law Ba said, “You got what you wanted didn’t you? Everybody knows about Mr. Ma’s offer. What you did was so deceptively simple….” and Kris knew Law Ba has misunderstood her actions. She was fueled by her guilty conscience and yet Law Ba thought she did it all to get into Mr. Ma’s company since even Law Ba kinda knew how Mr. Ma thought of Kris and Mrs. Ma and Kris working for his company. Kris wasn’t pleased and she was about to speak her mind when Auntie King came with 2 bowls and as she poured chili sauce into her bowl of noodle, Law Ba suddenly said as he ate his noodle, “You know, you and I, I was just like you. Fighting case for money, fame, glory. There was this case, 7 years ago where it was unwinnable. I knew if I win, my name will be established. It wasn’t about the fees; it was about winning. I was half way through the case when like you I realized my client was guilty as hell. But I went on with the case, putting my feelings aside…. ” and Kris now enraptured by his story whilst still pouring the chili oil asked, “What happened then?” and Law Ba finishing his noodle said, “I won the case!” and Kris said, “I know you won the case. But what about you? How did you feel? What happened after that case?” and Law Ba looked at her and said, “Well… you have to win a case against me before I will tell you, remember our bet?” and Kris now very frustrated as Law Ba stood up and said, “Auntie King, put the 2 bowls on the tab!!” and he left happily as Kris cursed and scolded him for leaving everything in a cliffhanger as she ate her noodle and it was too spicy. She was holding the chili sauce and pouring it the entire time! 

Next episode; new case, theft by an employee and we are cruelly told by George who is always the silent one in court! 

Story wise, no comment except I feel I like the way the story was going but had hoped to see more of Mrs. Ma’s craziness. I like Kris’ moral quandary and I think she and Law Ba is warming up to one another. She is still curious what he did for the 7 years seclusion he imposed on himself; why the 7 years, what happened. 

Performance wise, can’t fault Myolie. She did well, her doubts, her anger, her curiosity, her prejudice, she displayed all well. 

As for Kevin, no comment. I mean he is good out of court, is good if he doesn’t speak, very good. I like the way he stared at Myolie’s Kris when he knew Kris was practically giving him her witness so he can shred her to pieces.  But when he is doing the questioning, all the pointing lar, scolding lar, everything just not good at all. If lawyers all act that way, they’ll be pretty stressed. Usually the Q&A is quite mundane. 

Everybody else did well. 

Frankly, I really don’t have much comment for this.

This Episodic Thoughts was written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com, and was originally posted at Point2e.com.

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  1. Funn,
    I like how you described Myolie’s inner conflict in this episode. Hehe your summary makes me feel as if I am watching the series…although if I did watch it myself, it would have likely been noisy and filled with the usual TVB clutter and over abundance of stray characters and large crowded scenes.

    1. ” it would have likely been noisy and filled with the usual TVB clutter and over abundance of stray characters and large crowded scenes.”

      Actually Jayne, now that you mentioned this, it didn’t have all that! The streets are cluttered with ordinary folks but so far the characters are pretty spaced out. Not like Moonlight Resonance or some Jin Yong story, a bunch of people standing over another bunch of people.

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