Partner Track Faces Off Against Racism and Sexism in the World of Law – Armessa Movie News

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Editor’s Note: The following article contains spoilers for all of Season 1 of Partner Track.Partner Track has become a point of discussion on social media not only because of the steamy romances and tensions but also due to how different workplace issues are handled and depicted on the show.


The 10-episode series follows Arden Cho as Ingrid Yun, a young and idealistic lawyer who is determined to make partner at the Mergers & Acquisitions Division in her elite New York City law firm, Parsons Valentine & Hunt. Things are going well for Ingrid, but all of it changed when Jeff Murphy (Dominic Sherwood)—whom she had a passionate weekend encounter with six years prior—transfers to the New York office all the way from London. Now, Ingrid must navigate her way toward her dream job while trying to control her reignited feelings.

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Partner Track is a lawyer show before anything else, so besides the sexual tensions, brewing relationships, and family dilemmas, we also get to see what it is like to work at a fast-paced, prestigious law firm. There are many cases being handled in the show coming from different divisions that let us take a closer look at how the lawyers operate, all the while trying to find a good balance in their lives which is something that Ingrid is going through.


Ingrid Is Overworked and Underappreciated

As a second-generation Korean-American lawyer, daughter to Korean immigrants, Ingrid always has this huge pressure to do well and be a role model to her younger sister. She is known to be incredibly intelligent and driven, not stopping for anything until she reaches the end. We see her continuously working hard to stand out from others, but it’s often at the expense of her personal life. But, there are times when Ingrid is too clouded or focused on her goals where she would just disregard the feelings of others, especially with her fellow colleagues and co-workers who also double as her best friends.

While being over qualified and more than competent in taking on the role of partner, getting that achievement is not as easy for someone like Ingrid, largely because on top of handling huge cases left and right, she also has to deal with the challenges that come with being an Asian woman in a male-dominated workplace. This means that she has to work ten times harder compared to her colleagues to be more recognized, and this show knows how to depict that all-too-real struggle clearly and wisely.

RELATED: Arden Cho on ‘Partner Track’ and Season 1’s Shocking Ending

In Episode 9 entitled “Pro Forma”, for instance, we see Ingrid attending the much-awaited law firm party where they will announce who will be the next partners. Almost everyone, if not everyone, at the event congratulates Ingrid way before they know the results because they all believe that Ingrid making partner is already a done deal. They know Ingrid deserves it, that she’s worked extremely hard. She was the lead on a big and wildly successful case. So when her managing partner Marty Adler (Matthew Rauch) doesn’t include her name on the list of new partners and instead picks another white man (on a list of white men), people were obviously confused, and Ingrid is furious. Reeling from the shock, Ingrid is told by one of the few high-ranking Asian American women in the firm that she has gone through the same thing and that people like them will never be given such recognition in the first place.

That twist feels like a harsh slap on the face, both for the viewers and Ingrid. In the previous episodes, we see Ingrid having so much hope for the firm. She believed in the system, that it would finally change for the better by promoting genuine diversity and inclusivity, but it didn’t. Later on, she confronts Marty and tells him that she quits after being given the whole “you just need to work harder” speech. It’s a very powerful yet heartbreaking scene because Ingrid has done so much for the firm, she gave them everything and got nothing in return. But at the same time, there is also that sense of relief knowing that Ingrid has finally realized how unfair the firm really is towards marginalized people. Ingrid, by all means, is not perfect. She makes a lot of stupid mistakes throughout the show, especially when she fails to stand up for her friends when they are being targeted by racism and sexism. However, it’s great to see her admit to her shortcomings and proceed to atone for them in a genuine manner.

In the finale, she reunites with her lawyer friends Rachel Friedman (Alexandra Turshen) and Tyler Robinson (Bradley Gibson) and pursues her relationship with Jeff. Things are starting to go well for her even after leaving the firm. But at the end, the show takes us on yet another rollercoaster when Marty reveals to Ingrid that Jeff actually told him about her arrest, despite telling Ingrid he didn’t. Ingrid never seems to catch a well-deserved break.

Tyler Also Faces Discrimination and Racism at the Firm

Another instance is what happened to Tyler, a Black IP lawyer in the same firm. In passing, his co-worker Dan Fallon (Nolan Gerard Funk) makes a racist comment toward Tyler, even though he claims it’s not that big of a deal. Tyler politely tells him that it is offensive, but his statements are basically dismissed with a hurried apology.

Weeks later, in the firm’s annual retreat to a luxurious hotel, Dan takes to the stage by doing stand-up for the talent show. At first, he’s telling typical jokes, but then he shifts to a “woke” segment, causing a few people to feel uncomfortable. Dan even points out Tyler for “opening his eyes” about the concept of white fragility. Sure, it can be taken as a mere self-reflection, but Dan says it in a passive-aggressive way, making it sound like what Tyler said to Dan was too much. It’s a very awkward scene, and what makes it even more awful is the fact that this does happen in real life, and when you’re Tyler in that situation, you can’t do anything right away or else you will feel as if you’re going to be judged by being overly dramatic, he couldn’t even approach the managing partners because they are also laughing with Dan. Tyler didn’t know who to run to.

After the stand-up, Tyler tells Ingrid that he is leaving. Angry, Ingrid talks to Marty about what just happened with Dan. Days later, Tyler takes it up to HR, with many people backing him up. However, despite the plea to suspend Dan or put him on probation (making him ineligible for partner this year), he is instead given a formal reprimand and a talk. Marty Adler gives a lame excuse, saying that Dan has always done an incredible job with his cases and that it would be a waste to suspend him all because of some jokes. Dan never got what he deserves, in fact, he was even rewarded by it when he was chosen as one of the new partners. It’s as if he didn’t do anything wrong.

Partner Track Looks at Discrimination Closely

At a fast-paced and high-demand workplace such as this, it is a given that some things are just set in stone. When you have an executive level full of old, white men, it’s hard to make real change. Partner Track tackles that by making characters such as Ingrid and Tyler the ones who challenge those kinds of people. The way that these two approach these things aren’t always smooth, but it shows the authenticity behind the push. Sexism and racism are addressed here with such vulnerability yet no hesitation because that is what it is in many workplaces, even though it shouldn’t be.

There are still many things that need to be addressed, thanks to the show’s cliffhanger, but with no official confirmation of renewal, we won’t be getting the answers any time soon. So in the meantime, you can watch Season 1 of Partner Track which is now available on Netflix.

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