Before Rebecca Lim auditioned for the part of rookie lawyer Wendy Lim in The Pupil, Channel 5’s first legal drama, more than a decade ago, she was at a crossroads.

Then 22, Rebecca was studying full-time at SMU and acting part-time. “In my final year of university, I was thinking whether I should continue to pursue this acting career or use my accountancy degree and law major to find a normal job,” Rebecca tells 8days.sg via WhatsApp.

“I was auditioning so much then,” she adds. “I got called back perhaps one out of 20 [times]?” So she started sending out resumes to the banks and auditing firms, hoping they would come back to her with an offer.

And then came the opportunity to read for The Pupil. “I thought, ‘Hey, it’s a pupil role, I’m majoring in law, sounds like a good 50-50 chance.’”

She continues, “The many failed auditions along the way made me go in with the mentality to just give my all. ’Cause the worst that can happen will be to get rejected again — and I’ve been there.”

We all know what happened next: Rebecca snagged the part — her first leading role, no less — and the rest is history. “That was the show that made me fall in love with acting,” she says.

For Lee Thean-Jeen, the creator of The Pupil — which also starred Adrian Pang, Janice Koh and Lim Kay Tong — the series would be the first building block in what would become a shared universe of interlinked shows that include Code of Law, Derek, and Forensik. The fifth and latest (and possibly the last?) season of Code of Law premiered early this month.

“What we’ve tried to do with all the shows is to make them as relatable as possible to the person-on-the-street,” Lee Thean-Jeen, or TJ as he’s commonly known to his friends and collaborators, of the shows’ popularity.

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Law-maker: Lee Thean-Jeen of Weiyu Film, the creator of ‘The Pupil’, ‘Code of Law’, ‘Derek’ and ‘Forensik’. How big a legal drama is he? “I used to read John Grisham novels in my younger days … does that count?,” Thean-Jeen says. “My taste in dramas is actually quite rojak — I watch anything from Scandi-noir to K-dramas to local dramas in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.”

“Even though we’re dealing with the criminal justice and legal system, an aspect of Singapore life that many of us don’t directly experience (and, hopefully, will never have to), the issues that surround the cases — family, friendship, money, love and passion, etc — are universal in nature," says TJ who also worked on the hawker centre-themed 128 Circle, the murder mystery The Bridge (again starring Rebecca), and the Pierre Png-led vigilante thriller Zero Calling

Here, we get to cross-examine TJ for his favourite moments in making The Pupil and its off-shoots

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