Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Historical Context: Cao Cao Camp

Cao Cao is the leader of Cao Wei. He is revered for his military brilliance, but feared for his cruelty. For example, he massacred thousands of civilians as revenge for his father’s death. He essentially held Emperor Xian, the last ruler of the Han Dynasty, hostage to secure his power. This move is called 挟天子以令诸侯. However, it is interesting to note that Cao Cao vowed to never personally take the throne and end the Han Dynasty, because it is not honourable as he was a servant of the Han imperial court. He had no objections to his son, Cao Pi, completing the task though. 

Sun Yuk is the top strategist serving Cao Cao. On many occasions, he advised Cao Cao of threats and opportunities to securing the northern territory. For example, it was he who suggested using Emperor Xian as a puppet ruler. However, he fell out with Cao Cao later on and died shortly afterwards, never living to see the official establishment of the Cao Wei state.

Interesting Note: When Cao Cao met Sun Yuk, he remarked “This is my Chi-fong” in reference to Cheung Leung, the famous strategist for Liu Bong (founder of the Han Dynasty). In The Conqueror’s Story, Ram Chiang plays Cheung Leung, and now he plays Sun Yuk. Cao Cao, indeed, finds a Cheung Leung!

Xiahou Dun is a military general under Cao Cao. It is speculated that he is related to Cao Cao, as some accounts say Cao Cao’s original family name is Xiahou. Xiahou Dun is most widely depicted with an eye patch, after he lost his eye in battle. He is more known for his lost battles than victories, such as the Battle of Bowang where he lost to Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang despite commanding a much larger force.

Sima Yi is a politican in the Cao Wei state. He fought Zhuge Liang in the latter's Northern Expeditions. In the fifth (and last) battle, he was famously scared away by a dead Zhuge Liang (死諸葛嚇走活仲達). Sima Yi seized power from the Cao clan and his grandson officially ended the Cao Wei state to begin the Jin Dynasty.

Check out other Histoical Context posts!

Sun Quan camp
Liu Bei camp

Pictures:  TVB.com

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Witness Insecurity Review

Producer: Lau Ka Ho
Genre: Modern, police
Cast: Bosco Wong, Linda Chung, Paul Chun, Ram Chiang


Bosco is a Witness Protection Unit (WPU) officer assigned to protect Linda, the daughter of a rich businessman (Paul Chun). Linda has depression but she slowly opens up as she falls in love with Bosco. Paul Chun conducts business in questionable ways and has something to hide about his past. He will stop at nothing to protect this secret…


Hurrah, a new police show! Wrong. It is a family drama disguised as a police drama. I should have gotten the hint because the producer is Lau Ka Ho, aka Mr. Family Drama specialist. Now someone correct me if I’m wrong: Promotional clips showed two witnesses being killed shortly before a trial – one run over by a car and one thrown off a building. I never saw these scenes, or anything resembling it, in the entire series. False advertising? Yeah. Like I said, this is hardly a police drama. If you signed up for one, just watch the first and last five episodes and skip everything in between.

Well, at least those wishing to see romantic sparks between Bosco and Linda can rejoice? Err… First of all, they were never officially together. Second, I’m not sure if they were even that in love with each other. Linda has been isolated all her life until Bosco appears and he bears resemblance to her dead elder brother. She’s just channeling her emotions for her brother towards Bosco. As for Bosco, he didn’t have feelings for her at the beginning. I’m not sure how he realizes he loves her all of a sudden. If these two were truly in love with each other, Bosco’s struggle between love and righteousness (of bringing her father to justice) would have been much more intriguing. But here, there was never wasn’t difficulty in choosing.

So failed police show and failed romance story. What’s good? Ram Chiang was definitely a highlight. He was hilarious every time he appeared. The investigation into Paul Chun’s past was also very interesting. They should have made that part longer. Maybe more people involved, more action of him trying to kill Bosco, or even how he tries to fight off the charges instead of meekly giving in to his conscience (because the shady businessman is not supposed to be like that). Just please don’t give me more Linda crying/agonzing scenes.

Linda has been in 5 recent series, so some people complained about being tired of seeing her. Yes, especially when she is crying all the time. Seriously, she needs a different role, like evil or something, and not always playing the weak girl. Bosco makes me laugh whenever he stands politely holding his hands in front of him. It makes him look like a servant instead of a respectable police officer.

The ending… watch it yourself, I don’t want to spoil it. Don’t understand how they would let him walk away like that. And there was no reason for them to do that either.

Recommendation: Time filler. 3/5

Check out an article about TVB Police Shows!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Historical Context: Battle of Jiangxia

Pierre Ngo as Sun Quan {1}

In episode 8 of Three Kingdoms RPG, there is mention about the death of Wong Jo, a general serving under Liu Biu (the
governor of Jing Province). We don’t see any battle scenes, but this is actually reference to the Battle of Jiangxia (

The Battle of Jiangxia was between Sun Quan’s forces and Wong Jo. Sun Quan desperately wanted to get avenge his father’s death at the hands of Wong Jo. He had previously launched an attack in the same vicinity, known as the Battle of Xiahou (夏口之), but it ended inconclusively.

The battle did not start off well for Wong Jo. He had sent one of his generals to scout the area, but coincidentally, one of Sun Quan’s generals was also surveying the area at the same time. Despite fighting with only a few dozen men , Sun Quan’s general killed Wong Jo’s general and captured his men.

Learning of this, Wong Jo quickly ordered two large ships to block the river. There was a standoff between Wong Jo and Sun Quan’s ships. But Sun Quan’s ships were suffering heavy damages because Wong Jo had men positioned atop the cliffs to launch rocks and arrows from above.

Seeing this, Sun Quan’s strategist, Zhou Yu, had a hundred brave soldiers put on heavy armour and charge through the barrage of rocks. They successfully destroyed the connection between Wong Jo’s two ships. Subsequently, another one of Wong Jo’s general was killed. Wong Jo's numerically superior army had lost to Sun Quan’s smaller force.

Wong Jo, who had been stationed in the city during the battle, was killed in his flee out of the city. Sun Quan finally succeeded in seeking revenge for his father and presented Wong Jo’s head at his father’s grave.

The Aftermath

Lau Kei was the eldest son of Liu Biu. Fearing that he was being plotted against by his brother Lau Chung and step-mother Lady Choi, he sought help from Zhuge Liang. However, Zhuge Liang didn’t seem to want to help him. So Lau Kei lured him to the attic and removed the ladder.  Safely away from prying ears, Zhuge Liang advises Lau Kei to take over Wong Jo’s position in Jiangxia. This becomes one of the 36 Stratagems, 上屋抽梯 (literally ascend to the roof, remove the ladder).

With the able general Wong Jo out of the picture and the pending death of Liu Biu, Jing Province will eventually fall to Cao Cao.

Jack Wu (second from left) plays Lau Kei. 

Check out other Historical Context posts!

Friday, July 27, 2012

TVB Police Shows

Tiger Cubs 飞虎 - Ngo Kanin 敖嘉年 + Joe Ma 马德钟
Original post: http://graphixfocuz.blogspot.com/2012/07/poster-tiger-cubs-2.html
Photo Credit to tantsy

Translated Article: (Original)
TVB has recently released two police dramas: Witness Insecurity, starring Bosco Wong and Linda Chung, and Tiger Cubs, the first drama to premier on weekends.

Both series have received good ratings and comments. Even though Tiger Cub was put into a “cannon fodder” time slot (10 pm on Sunday), it has topped ratings for two consecutive weeks. And while TVB has not put much into promotion for Witness Insecurity, as Producer La Ka Ho has left TVB, it has been well-received and generated a lot of discussion.

Police shows can be considered as one of TVB’s regular features. After many years of producing these dramas, fans have criticized that there is a “standard formula”. Even Tiger Cub’s female lead, Jessica Hsuan, couldn’t resist blasting TVB police dramas for being one and the same, “Actually I think TVB police dramas should have a tighter script, but it must be acceptable to housewives, so there are many restrictions. That is why they are always the same, it is quite old-fashioned.”

Viewers of Witness Insecurity and Tiger Cubs observed that TVB is trying to steer in new directions. From Witness Insecurity’s “old favour” versus Tiger Cub’s masculine presence, it is obvious TVB wants to avoid “standard formula” soap operas.

Still, TVB police series has really become “textbook material”. Audience have concluded that the dramas will take one of two routes.

In series like Armed Reaction, Anti-Crime Squad and I Can’t Accept Corruption, the police know from the beginning who to capture, but don’t have any evidence. The plot focuses on finding evidence and tracking down the criminal, who is usually a triad member. There is often car chases, gun battles and undercover cops.

Meanwhile, Detective Investigative Files, Untraceable Evidence, and To Catch the Uncatchable takes the second approach. There are typically many suspects, the police will unravel clues and reveal the criminal. The story is of investigating motives and methods to eliminate suspects. The emphasis is on logic and not action scenes. As well the main lead’s friends and families are usually either the criminal or victim.

As for the romantic storyline, it is always like this: Every time a case is solved, the male and female leads will have a relationship scene, but once the romance develops to a certain extent, the couple is bound have some sort of misunderstanding and quarrel, or another case will come up. Everyone will have to set aside their emotions to solve the case first before resuming their relationship.

The old-fashioned dramas tend to have similar plots. For instance, Jessica has been named “TVB Hostage Queen”, because in ten years of filming, she has been held hostage at least twelve times. Besides in police series, Jessica can’t avoid the fate even in ancient dramas. She is most frequently threatened with a knife. Of course, whether a gun is pointed at her or she is being drowned, the male lead will always arrive at the right time for a “Hero Save Beauty” scene. Thus, Jessica was also bestowed the title of “hostage with highest survival rate”.

Jessica’s role as police officer in Tiger Cubs finally does not need to be held hostage. Jessica laughs and says “Don’t know why everyone likes to kidnap me.” Tiger Cubs producer, Lau Ka Ho, expresses, “Being kidnapped is the best way to indicate the female lead’s value. Because she is the male lead’s most loved person, she has great value for kidnappers.”

Note: The article is wrong on two things. First, Jessica doesn’t avoid being kidnapped in Tiger Cubs. Second, the producer of Tiger Cubs is Lam Chi-wah, not Lau Ka Ho.

Don't forget the ending scene where the team is at a mass gathering (wedding, BBQ) and everyone gets a call for a new case.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Raymond Lam Cartoonified

Credits to hyn5 @ 幸而城 Fortunate City

Very cute cartoons of some of Raymond Lam's past roles. Can you name them?

Which modern role do you like most?

Which ancient role do you like most?

Real life Raymond:



Picture Links: {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6} {7} {8} {9} {10} {11} {12} {13} {14} {15} {16}

More on Raymond Lam!

Friday, July 20, 2012


Nowadays, TVB’s philosophy is basically: Turn anything and everything into a sequel. Big hit? Sequel. Decent ratings? Sequel. We have no idea what to make next? Sequel. So let’s review some of the better and worst sequels/spinoffs plus many upcoming ones.


《古灵精探》 D.I.ENo Regrets – Still intense and great acting, except the boring Fala and Raymond story.

Forensic Heroes III – Tried for a different feel with all the high-tech stuff, though the cases were not all that special.

D.I.E. Again – Unique in that there are all sorts of weird happenings not seen in other detective series.

The Academy spinoffs – All of the dramas were very good, but they should really stop now. Can’t keep having people die and then come back alive again.

Burning Flames III – Firefighting made up like 10% of the series. Wong He is in a coma for half of it. Did anyone watch the originals when making this?

Can’t Buy Me Love – The rhyming lines were not funny after the first few times. Urgh…

Moonlight Resonance – Okay, a lot of people liked HOG and MR. I’m in the minority because I didn’t like the yelling, crying and slapping.

Just Love II – Almost completely irrelevant to the legal theme except for the title.


A Pillow Case of Mystery II – Wasn't paying much attention when watching this. Akin to D.I.E. ancient version.

Witness Insecurity – A spinoff of Miss Koo from Yes Sir, Sorry Sir, featuring a lot of the same cast. If comparing to the original, it’s 10x better, but that’s not saying much at all.


Ghetto Justice II – Sounding very good, except they just had to add in a love triangle, didn’t they? We shall see.

Triumph in the Skies II – I hope it’s not like Burning Flames 3: Love, love, love, and oh yeah, the occasional flying a plane.

Beauty At War – TVB couldn’t match War & Beauty success in other palace dramas and this one does not look promising.  

The Hippocratic Crush II – Didn’t watch the first one, so not sure. Great theme song though.

A Great Way to Care II – Didn’t watch this either, but makes it seem like people with mental illnesses will commit crimes.

A Chip Off the Block II – The first one was decent comedy except for Sunny Chan. Add Liza Wang, minus Sunny Chan = the second one should be okay.

Big Ifs…

20110610-075659.jpgRosy Business III – Modern version with Wayne Lai and Michelle Yim (?) No doubts on the acting, but can the story be as good?

Gloves Come Off II – Isn’t there enough criticism to persuade TVB not to make a sequel? Not like the first one got very high ratings either (average about 30 points).

Sergeant Tabloid II – Really, are we getting a little ahead of ourselves? The original hasn’t even been aired in HK yet.

Moonlight Resonance sequel – Only hearing rumours in forums, but please don’t let it be true…

Pics:  {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6} {7} {8}

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Historical Context: Zhuge Liang’s Fiery Attacks

Ever heard of the phrase 新官上任三把火?  It literally translates to “Three fires from a new official” and used to describe the first acts of an incoming leader to establish his/her creditability. The story behinds this saying actually comes from our beloved strategist, Zhuge Liang.

Zhuge Liang arrived on the scene as an untested young fellow and did not command the respect of established veterans in Liu Bei’s army. He proved his worth in three early battles, by using fire to counter Cao Cao’s much larger armies.

Note: These stories are from the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The 2nd battle is not even recorded in history books. However, the 1st and 3rd battles are indeed real battles, though the details and Zhuge Liang’s role is likely exaggerated.


1st Fire:  Battle of Bowang

In Zhuge Liang’s first battle, his 15,000 men was severely outnumbered by Cao Cao’s army of 100,000, led by General Xiahou Dun (historians estimated the actual number was half of that). Zhuge Liang sent Chiu Wan to lead a contingent to battle the Cao army and lure them into a narrow valley, where Zhuge Liang had already set up men on both sides. He then sent men to set fire to the Cao encampment. When news of the fire reached General Xiahou, he tried to retreat but was already trapped in the valley by the surrounding fires.

2nd Fire: Battle at Xinye

After the defeat in the Battle of Bowang, Cao Cao personally leads 500,000 soldiers to attack Xinye where Liu Bei is stationed. At this time, the governor of Jing Province, Lau Biu, dies and power is passed to his wife, Lady Choi, and his second son, Lau Chong. Aware of Cao Cao’s advancing army, Lady Choi and Lau Chong promptly cedes Jing Province to Cao Cao. Lau Bei decides to abandon Xinye and retreat. General Cao Ren, arriving at the empty city of Xinye, enters the city and stations for the night. That night, Chiu Wan sets the city on fire.

3rd Fire: Battle of the Red Cliffs

The Battle of the Red Cliffs is easily the biggest and most decisive battle during the Three Kingdoms era. After the losses to Liu Bei, Cao Cao is determined to eliminate him. Fearing Cao Cao’s massive advantage in numbers, Liu Bei forms an alliance with Sun Quan, the eastern warlord.  This brings Zhuge Liang together with Sun Quan’s strategist, Zhou Yu. Together, they formulate a brilliant plan to ensure the success of the alliance against Cao Cao.

To reach Liu Bei, Cao Cao’s army had to cross the Yantze River. Since most of the men were from the north and inexperienced with sailing, Cao Cao took the advice of Pang Tong, a renowned military strategist and (unknown to Cao Cao) friend of Zhuge Liang. Pang Tong suggested linking all the ships together end-to-end when sailing, in order to reduce seasickness.

Meanwhile, Zhou Yu and General Wong Gai put on a scene at the Sun camp. Wong Gai tied to convince Zhou Yu to surrender to Cao Cao. The angry Zhou Yu ordered Wong Gai to be executed, but later commuted it to a beating by sticks. Wong Gai sent a letter to Cao Cao, asking for refuge. Cao Cao believed him because he had heard news of the fallout between Wong and Zhou Yu. This act uses the tactic of 苦肉 to gain trust of one’s enemy.

Zhuge Liang waited until the day when the wind blew east to launch his attack (萬事俱備,只欠東風). On the fateful day, Wong Gai asked to meet Cao Cao on the Yantze River. Cao Cao leads his large fleet of linked boats along the river and from far, sees Wong Gai’s contingent approaching. When they were close enough, Wong Gai suddenly set all his boats on fire and escaped on row boats. With the east wind guiding the fire boats towards Cao Cao’s fleet, there was no escape, lending name to another famous phrase, 火燒連環船.  

Pictures: {1}  {2}

Check out other Historical Context posts!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Upcoming Movie: DIVA 華麗之後

Release Date: August 17, 2012
Cast: Joey Yung, Chapman To, He Gu, Mag Lam

This movie takes us into the backstage of the HK music industry. Joey Yung is a diva whose glamorous onstage career doesn’t reflect her lonesome life away from the spotlight. When forced to take a break after losing her voice, she meets a blind man (Hu Ge) and discovers a new perspective to life. They begin a secret romance filled with difficulties and obstacles…

Meanwhile, Mag Lam, a newcomer, is suddenly propelled into stardom. Fame brings along many conflicts. The non-stop rumours cause her boyfriend to break up with her. She also has to deal with the pressures of being touted as Joey’s challenger.

Very excited to see Joey in this movie. She is essentially playing herself in this role as was tailor-made for her. There is bound to be some revelations about her life behind the scenes and also the inner-workings of EEG.

Update: I'm assuming this is the theme song of the movie. Let's just say it won't be my favourite Joey song... not a fan of Mag. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

"No Good Either Way" Review



Producer: Amy Wong
Genre: Modern, comedy
Cast: Ruco Chan, Louis Yuen, Kristal Tin, Stephen Au, Florence Kwok, Jason Chan, Natalie Tong, Q Bobo

Plot Summary:

Inside the competitive corporate world, Ruco stays away from office politics and works at his own leisure. Tough-lucked Louis can’t seem to get anything going for him, not even sucking up to his bosses. Both are loathed by the manipulative Florence, who wants to consolidate her power in the company. Chaos ensues and the company is miraculously saved because everyone loved the kind-hearted boss (Stephan).


This is a comedic series that speaks about the hardships of ordinary workers in HK. It is somewhat comparable to L’Escargot, which explores similar themes, albeit in a more irritating/less interesting way. NGEW is only 20 episodes at a fairly good pace. It’s light-hearted and funny rather than yelling/crying. And we don’t have stupid characters do stupid things (ahem, Linda Chung). It’s also not exaggerated humor with rhyming lines, like Can’t Buy Me Love. Often, the audience gets a kick from the characters’ frustration or mishaps. Constructing one’s happiness on another’s misery, as the saying goes. Like when Stephen Au had to deal with his demanding father-in-law, who is constantly trying to show off his richness by insisting that everyone calls him “Boss”.

The supporting characters were what made this series so fun. Already mentioned is Stephen Au’s father-in-law. He speaks in another dialect and calls everyone “Idiot”. There’s also the assumed-to-be-gay fat tenant, who hung all his underwear in the washroom. The old woman being his wife - now that’s rofl material! Even Kakei Leung, annoying in every other series, was funny as the dorky nurse. I was laughing so hard at that scene when she tells how she busted Florence.

But of course, TVB being TVB, can’t possibly make a perfect series, can they? The flaw lies in the hasty character development. For example, Jason Chan was being portrayed as the good man – sweet, handsome, the like. Then we find out that he’s not as perfect as he seems. He’s rather childish and irresponsible. But then suddenly he’s this lowlife that plots to screw over Ruco. For what? Because Ruco “stole” credit for his product design idea? Man up, dude! Same lack of development for how Ruco changed from an easy-going guy to a harsh boss who tried to make life miserable for his subordinates.

The ending was a bit leaning towards unbelievable. It would be extremely difficult to mobilize an entire company of 500 workers to all agree to defer their salary in such a short amount of time. But given what this drama is, there needed to be a happy ending. At least there wasn’t a company-wide BBQ or dance. The final scene left Natalie and Jason’s relationship ambiguous.  I hope they’re not thinking of a sequel with Jason and Natalie as the lead actors.

In terms of acting, generally commendable. There was one shot where Ruco’s face looked really smug and despicable when he was being the harsh boss. Louis’ expressions were exaggerated sometimes, but since this is a comedy, it’s acceptable. (Sidenote: I read somewhere that Louis was actually making up funny lines on the spot while filming this.) One thing that did sort of annoy me was the way Natalie Tong’s eyes bugged out when arguing with her brother or boyfriend. And Jason Chan looked sulky the whole time. Matt Yeung performed better than him as the righteous guy.

Recommendation: Enjoyable. 3/5

Historical Context: Formation of the Liu Camp

Liu Bei is the distant uncle of Emperor Xian of Han (漢獻), which is why he is called 劉皇 by the people. However, some historians have questioned Liu Bei’s lineage and speculate that it is merely a way to legitimize his claim to the throne. Liu Bei was known to be a benevolent ruler who cared for his people. After one defeat at the hands of Cao Cao, Liu Bei refused to abandon 100,000 citizens in his escape despite putting himself at great risk. Liu Bei “revives” the Han Dynasty when he created the Shu Han state.

Kwan Yu is a general serving Liu Bei. He is revered for his loyalty. Even when captured by Cao Cao, his insisted on returning to Liu Bei. The phrase 過五關斬六 comes from the legend of how Kwan Yu escaped from Cao’s territory to return to Liu Bei. Kwan Yu is worshipped in modern HK by many, including both the police and the triads. He is classically portrayed with a red face and long beard, holding his weapon, the Kwan Dao ().

Cheung Fei is also a general in Liu Bei’s camp. He has a reputation as a courageous, able warrior. In one battle, he single-handed scared off Cao Cao’s large army by standing in front a bridge, daring anyone to challenge him.

Chiu Wan is another general under Liu Bei. He is brave and perhaps best known for his physical strength. In the same battle in which Cheung Fei warded off Cao Cao’s army, Chiu Wan travelled alone towards Cao Cao’s camp to rescue Liu Bei’s wife and young son.

Zhuge Liang is a strategist for Liu Bei and regarded as one of the most brilliant strategists in history. Liu Bei’s former strategist Tsui Su recommended Zhuge Liang to replace himself when he was forced to join Cao Cao’s side. Liu Bei visited Zhuge Liang’s home three times before successfully persuading him to act as his adviser. This is the famous story called 三顧茅廬 . Zhuge Liang came up with the Longzhong Plan, in which he advised Liu Bei to secure the western territory and foresaw the separation of China into three states. He deployed numerous brilliant tactics to help Liu Bei in his quest to restore the Han dynasty, which will surely unfold throughout the rest of the series.

Check out other Historical Context posts!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Inaccuracies in TVB Legal Dramas

Translated Article:

There are many television legal dramas, but the fictional plots can falsely misled audience. For example, the simple line of “Objection, 法官大人” actually has two errors. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is concerned that the errors in TV court scenes will cause citizens to misunderstand their legal rights and has arranged to conduct classes for producers and scriptwriters, in hopes of rectifying the inaccuracies.

Beloved legal dramas are inconsistent with reality, so prosecutors will visit TVB City to explain legal procedures and the basic work of lawyers. One lawyer pointed out common errors in TV court scenes. Under the principle of equality before the law, there is no “大人” and “小人” (as this indicates the existence of a class system). The term “法官大人” has no longer been used since the Handover of HK. Court officials will often use the term “法官閣下” when referring to the judge as a sign of respect.

TVB emphasizes dramas are realistic

In court scenes where lawyers fiercely oppose each other, the sound of “Objection” is frequently heard. The lawyer will then walk in front of the witness and jury to argue their point. In reality, trials proceed in a polite manner; lawyers will only express their opinion, present evidence and rebut arguments from their seat and would not shout out “Objection”.

TVB Deputy Director of External Affairs Tsang Sing Ming said TVB’s legal dramas have never received complaints for being unrealistic. He confirmed that prosecutors are conducting seminars at TVB City, but it is not due to dramas being unrealistic. He explained that the Drama Department’s research team will often invite disciplinary forces, government agencies and other organizations to share their work processes and experiences so as to guarantee accuracy in dramas. “Every time we complete a lawyer, firefighter or police drama, a lot of people wish to join the profession. This proves that dramas are realistic enough and are beloved by the people.”

Last year, the legal drama Ghetto Justice was well-received and currently re-airing in a late night slot. The sequel is to be released at the end of this month. In regards to the DOJ’s seminars at TVB City, Ghetto’s producer Tommy Leung said “Always welcome learning. In fact, every time I shoot a lawyer or doctor series, I will always ask consult with the professionals, will not just make things up. But if the DOJ shows concern, it is a good thing, no reason to be unwelcoming of their advice.”

 Exaggerate reality to increase drama

TV court scenes often exaggerate reality, leading to doubts about the efforts put into proper research. But scriptwriters and producers explain that besides reflecting reality, court scenes must also be dramatic, therefore will be exaggerated. They welcome the seminars to provide more legal knowledge.

A TVB scriptwriter expressed that TVB has demanded higher quality of research in recent years. For court scenes, they will ask for lawyers’ advice or even personally attend court proceedings in order to increase the realism. But he explains that, in consideration of dramatic effects, some things will be exaggerated. For example, lawyers do not really have to shout out their objections, but doing so will increase the tension.

The scriptwriter used the popular Ghetto Justice as an example, pointing out that a lawyer investigating the case was unrealistic, but it is simply a dramatic device. He added “Court is not a rigid place, sometimes absurd things will occur. Judges will laugh and insult people, so anything can actually happen.”

Will venture into grey areas

Producer Gary Tang of the hit series Files of Justice believes there must be a balance between realism and drama: “When I was shooting Files of Justice, I will consult many friends in the legal profession. If a particular event could not possibly occur under the law, we will give it up. But if there are grey areas, then we will go for it. If we were shooting real court scenes, it will bore people; filming must have drama after all.”

Common errors in court scenes

Error: References
Example: Dramas often refer to the judge as 法官大人 instead of 法官閣下; often calls “Department of Justice” as “Legal Department”

Error: Lawyer’s responsibilities
Example: Lawyers in dramas will take the role of detective and collect evidence, but this should be the responsible of the police

Error: Shouting “Objection”
Example: Hong Kong follows the British judicial system; even when lawyers believe the opposition’s arguments are wrong, they will not shout out “Objection”. They will only stand to express their opinion.

Error: Positioning in court
Example: Lawyers should stand at their seat to question witnesses and not walk in front of the witness or jury to speak.

Error: Order of questioning
Example: In proper procedure, the prosecution will first describe the case, call on prosecution witnesses and then defense witnesses will appear in court. The order of appearance for witnesses is often mixed up for dramatic effect.

Original Article in Chinese: http://www.ihktv.com/department-of-justice-to-teach-tvb-filming.html 
Photo Credits: TVB.com  

In The Other Truth, Tavia was not approving about Ruco's habit of overstepping boundaries to investigate cases on his own. A lot of TVB dramas have lawyers, forensics, reporters, psychologists - everyone but the police - solving cases. TVB is currently filming Justice Attack (Michael Tse, Tavia Yeung). We will see how well TVB learns.