Is Partner Track on the Right Track?

© 2022 Netflix, Inc.

Netflix’s new American legal drama/romance, Partner Track comes with a diverse cast, wonderful character arcs, and with amazing performances from Arden Cho, Alexandra Turshen, Bradley Gibson, Dominic Sherwood, Rob Heaps, and Nolan Gerard Funk. In it, idealist M&A lawyer Ingrid Yun (Cho) struggles with her love life and the conflicts that arise when her moral compass does not line up with her professional goals as she fights to climb the corporate ladder. Her best friends Tyler (Gibson), and Rachel (Turshen) work with her at the same law firm and have to deal with their own problems which send their paths crisscrossing and then careening off in different directions.

Partner Track is a perfect example of the misogyny (both overt and subtle) that women and minorities have to deal with in a male-dominated field. The microaggressions against both women and POC are depicted organically. Between the “I’m sending my best men” and the “lady lawyer” comments, there were plenty of eye-twitch-worthy moments. In addition to the microaggressions, the show really picks up after a racist stand-up routine at the annual talent show sends the characters into a tailspin. Both Yun (a Korean-American lawyer) and Tyler (a gay African-American lawyer) must fight for what is right, but that doesn’t prove to be the easiest professional move, especially in a field that is dominated by rich white men.

The charismatic and driven character of Ingrid is the perfect vehicle to tour us through the competitive profession of M&A law while also navigating through romance in her thirties. It is refreshing to see an Asian businesswoman who knows what she wants and goes for it. She isn’t labeled a witch. She isn’t a prude. She is just a human with ambition and goals. She is a flawed character and when she makes questionable decisions it adds to the tension.

© 2022 Netflix, Inc.

Amongst all of the main characters, the writers and directors are able to touch on lighthearted topics and deeper, more thought-provoking topics about live vs death, ethics, racism, finding your passion (romantically and professionally), familial relationships, and the importance of Asian-American women supporting one another.

Arden Cho does a fantastic job playing idealist lawyer Ingrid. Prior to Partner Track, she starred in Teen Wolf, Chicago Med, and in The Honor List. Her portrayal is earnest and sincere, albeit a little naïve for such a competitive setting, but that is on the writing, not because of her acting.

© 2022 Netflix, Inc.

It was amazing to see bestie Tyler go from the stereotypical GBF to a character with his own meaningful arc and problems. Gibson does a wonderful job playing a conflicted lawyer who struggles between right and wrong, passion versus performance, and wants versus needs.

Fans have pointed out that the writers and director have overlooked the most obvious match in the show: Ingrid and Z. Z Min (played by a long-haired Desmond Chaim) has been around since 2007, starring in shows like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, The Shannara Chronicles, and Now Apocalypse.  Seeing an Asian actor as a viable romantic option would be great, but that didn’t happen. But then, of course, the writers have to leave bachelors for a potential second season as well, don’t they?