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Top 31 Best Crime K-dramas to Watch

We all know South Korea is one of the best when it comes to producing action-thrilling series involving law and crime. In the last couple of years, the Korean entertainment industry has given us several crime thrillers and although some of them might seem to be similar on the surface, most series are exceptionally good with interesting and unique plot lines. Moreover, the reason why crime thrillers are always on trend is because of how they have the tendency to keep the viewers awake at night, anticipating the upcoming episodes, keeping them hooked till the end.

If you have lately been wanting to watch some suspense-filled dramas, ranging from gruesome murder to large-scale corruption cases, here we are bringing to you the list of the top 31 crime Korean series that you should definitely watch.

1. Voice series (2017-present)

Starring: Lee Ha-na, Jang Hyuk, Lee Jin-wook, Song Seung-heon
Total Number of Seasons: 4

Voice

Voice

The series centres the stories of 112 emergency call center with their dispatch team members who solves various crime cases with the help of the sounds that they hear. The first season has detective Moo Jin Hyuk as the protagonist, who works with Kang Kwon Joo who is a professional voice profiler. Both of them chase a serial killer together to solve a twisted case, involving the deaths of their own family members. You can watch the series online on Netflix and Viki along with subtitles in English.

2. Stranger (2017-2020)

Starring: Jo Seung Woo, Bae Doo Na, Lee Joon Hyuk, Yoo Jae Myung, Shin Hae Sun, Choi Jae Woong
Total Number of Seasons: 2

Stranger

Stranger

‘Stranger’ is a law thriller drama that features actor Jo Seung Woo in the character Hwang Shi Mok who has lost the ability to feel any emotions after undergoing brain surgery in childhood. He works as an upright prosecutor who is both intelligent and logical, but lacks social skills and empathy. He comes across Lieutenant Han Yeo Jin at a crime scene where he encounters a stabbing victim, as a part of a serial murder case. Both of them join forces to dig out the beginning of the chain and root out corruption as well, at the prosecutors’ office. You can binge-watch all the episodes of the series on Netflix.

3. Taxi Driver (2021)

Starring: Lee Je Hoon, Esom, Kim Eui Sung, Pyo Ye Jin, Cha Ji Yeon, Jang Hyuk Jin
Total Number of Episodes: 16

Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver

Adapted from a webtoon by Carlos and Lee Jae-jin titled, ‘The Deluxe Taxi,’ the story revolves around Kim Do-gi, a graduate from Korea Military Academy, who had lost his mother at a young age to a serial killer. In order to satisfy his vengeance, he starts working as a taxi driver for a secret organization that aims at seeking justice for people outside the reach of the law. You can access all the episodes of the series online on Viki with a paid subscription.

4. Beyond Evil (2021)

Starring: Yeo Jin Goo, Shin Ha Kyun, Choi Dae Hoon, Kim Shin Rok, Choi Jin Ho, Choi Sung Eun
Total Number of Episodes: 16

Beyond Evil

Beyond Evil

‘Beyond Evil’ is one of the best thriller crime shows with a perfect blend of emotions and suspense. Following the story of two brave policemen, Lee Dong-sik and Han Joo-won from the Manyang Police Substation, the series showcases how the two of them go beyond the law in order to catch a serial killer. However, the investigation to uncover the culprit’s identity ends up becoming far more convoluted than expected as they begin to doubt everyone’s innocence— without even sparing their own selves. You can check it out on Netflix as well as Viki.

5. Pied Piper (2016)

Starring: Shin Ha Kyun, Jo Yoon Hee, Yoo Joon Sang, Jeon Gook Hwan, Kim Jong Soo, Park Sung Geun
Total Number of Episodes: 16

Pied Piper

Pied Piper

The series features Shin Ha Kyun as negotiator Joo Sung Chan, the leader of the PD Negotiation Task Force, which deals with the most volatile, dangerous and risky operations, starting from hostage cases to terrorist attacks. However, they do not make use of any weapons but fight every situation with words, in the hope of neutralizing volatile situations before they turn into complete catastrophes. Sung Chan works with Yeo Myung-ha, who is an inspector at the unit, and other highly skilled negotiators to diffuse dangerous situations.

6. Mouse (2021)

Starring: Lee Seung Gi, Lee Hee Joon, Park Joo Hyun, Kyung Soo Jin, Woo Ji Hyun, Ahn Jae Wook
Total Number of Episodes: 20

Mouse

Mouse

‘Mouse’ is an action-packed crime thriller that follows the encounter of a police officer named Jung Ba Reum with a crazy and psychopathic serial murderer whose ruthless deeds have left the whole country in fright. The situation that follows forces Ba Reum and his partner, Moo Chi to go ahead and understand the reasons that command people to become unbelievably violent. They begin a quest to find the truth behind some of the most poignant questions involving the development of psychopathic behaviours. The show is available for stream on Viki with a subscription.

7. Partner for Justice (2018-2019)

Starring: Jung Jae Young, Jung Yoo Mi, Lee Yi Kyung, Park Eun Seok, Stephanie Lee, Joo Jin Mo
Total Number of Seasons: 2

Partner for Justice

Partner for Justice

‘Partner for Justice’ is an underrated gem that is a must-watch for all crime-mystery lovers. It follows the style of having short stories in a story involving suspense, law, mystery, medical and investigation. Baek Beom is an experienced forensic doctor with an introverted nature while Eun Sol plays the role of a rookie prosecutor with a  bright and cheerful personality. Although they are completely different from each other in every aspect, they must join forces and capture a chain killer. All the episodes of the series are available to watch on Netflix, Viki and Apple TV.

8. Vincenzo (2021)

Starring: Song Joong Ki, Jeon Yeo Been, Ok Taec Yeon, Kim Yeo Jin, Kwak Dong Yeon, Jo Han Chul
Total Number of Episodes: 20

Vincenzo

Vincenzo

The highest-rated K-drama of 2021 so far, ‘Vincenzo’ centres on an Italian mafia consigliere named Vincenzo Cassano who has returned to Korea after his adopted father and mafia leader dies. Although his primary concern is to acquire the tons of gold hidden at the basement of the Geumga Plaza, he gradually gets involved with an attorney named Hong Cha Young in a battle against the corrupt leader of the Babel Group, where he makes use of his tactics as a mafia member to bring him down. The show is available to watch on Netflix.

9. Healer (2014)

Starring: Ji Chang Wook, Park Min Young, Kim Mi Kyung, Yoo Ji Tae, Park Sang Won, Do Ji Won
Total Number of Episodes: 20

Healer

Healer

A top-notch crime thriller, that helped actor Ji Chang Wook gain a large fanbase both inside and outside Korea, ‘Healer’ follows an old murder incident that involves an illicit broadcasting station, bringing three different individuals together. ‘Healer’ is a mysterious errand guy with great fighting skills, while Chae Young-shin is a second-rate tabloid writer and Kim Mun-ho, a famous journalist. The three of them are forced to face a cruel conflict between truth and faith. The show is available to watch on various streaming platforms including Viki, Netflix, Apple TV and Kocowa.

10. While You Were Sleeping (2017)

Starring: Bae Suzy, Lee Jong Suk, Jung Hae In, Hwang Young Hee, Lee Sang Yeob, Shin Jae Ha
Total Number of Episodes: 32

While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping

‘While You Were Sleeping’ revolves around the lives of three young individuals— Nam Hong Joo, a field reporter; Jung Jae Chan, a rookie prosecutor; and Han Woo Tak, who is a young police officer. The special thing about them is that they can foresee whatever is going to happen to each other in future through their dreams. A chain of circumstances lead them to work together, making use of their special skill, and solve several complicated cases. You can easily watch the episodes online on Viki, Viu, Netflix and iQiyi.

11. W— Two Worlds (2016)

Starring: Lee Jong Suk, Han Hyo Joo, Kim Eui Sung, Lee Tae Hwan, Jung Yoo Jin, Lee Si Eon
Total Number of Episodes: 16

W— Two Worlds

W— Two Worlds

With one of the most unique premises, ‘W’ comes under the top five most popular series across the K-drama world. The story follows a cardiothoracic surgeon named Oh Yeon Joo who suddenly gets dragged into a world of webtoon created by her father. She finds the protagonist of the webtoon, Kang Chul, injured and covered in bloodstains on the rooftop of a hotel. Although she manages she save him and send him to the hospital on time, she kept getting dragged into the webtoon world and before she realises, she becomes one of the main characters there. All the episodes of ‘W— Two Worlds’ can be watched online on Netflix, We TV and Viki.

12. Lawless Lawyers (2018)

Starring: Lee Joon Gi, Seo Ye Ji, Choi Min Soo, Lee Hye Young, Lee Ro Woon, Lee Dae Yeon
Episodes: 16

Lawless Lawyers

Lawless Lawyers

Set in the fictional city of Kisung, known for its lawless and corrupt nature, the series follows a gangster turned lawyer, Sang-pil and a suspended lawyer named Ha Jae-yi who have been wronged in their respective lives in different ways. They end up joining hands, forming the Lawless Law Firm, and make use of the law and their wits to fight against a corrupt judge named Cha Moon-sook and her allies. If you want to watch the show, you can check it out on Viki and Apple TV where they are available with subtitles in English.

13. Law School (2021)

Starring: Kim Bum, Kim Myung Min, Ryu Hye Young, Lee Jung Eun, Lee Soo Kyung, Lee David
Total Number of Episodes: 16

Law School

Law School

The series centres on an unprecedented case involving a law professor named Yang Jong Hoon, a civil law professor named Kim Eun Sook, Han Joon Hwi and Kang Sol, two first-year law students. Professor Yang Jong Hoon and the students of their prestigious law school get involved in an unprecedented and unusual case that has taken place at the institute. ‘Law School’ successfully manages to show how prospective lawyers grow and realise the depth of authenticity, law and justice. The show is available only on Netflix to stream.

14. He is Psychometric (2019)

Starring: Park Jin Young, Shin Ye Eun, Kim Kwon, Kim Da Som, Noh Jong Hyun, Go Yoon Jung
Total Number of Episodes: 16

He is Psychometric

He is Psychometric

The series is a perfect combination of romance, comedy, suspense and fantasy. The story revolves around the life of Lee Ahn, a psychometric who processes the ability to get the knowledge of someone’s past just by physical contact, and makes use of the special ability to tackle bad people. He comes across Yoon Jae In who struggles a lot to hide her painful past while Lee Ahn is unable to control his powers yet. He, along with Jae In, his adoptive father, prosecutor Kang Seong Mo and his colleague Eun Ji Soo, decides to investigate an elusive case haunting their lives since such a long time, during which they heal each other’s wounds. All the episodes of the show are available on Viki and Netflix.

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15. Tell Me What You Saw (2020)

Starring: Jang Hyuk, Choi Soo Young, Jin Seo Yun, Jang Hyun Sung, Ryu Seung Soo, Shin Soo Ho
Total Number of Episodes: 16

Tell Me What You Saw

Tell Me What You Saw

Following the death of his fiancé, brought upon by a serial killer, the top criminal profiler, Oh Hyun Jae gets extremely affected and starts living in seclusion. He comes across a countryside police officer, Cha Soo Young, who processes a special ability to remember things exactly the way she sees them. They end up teaming up together after a series of incidents and begin looking for the truth behind the Peppermint Killer, who is the same serial killer who had caused Hyun Jae’s fiancé’s death, five years ago. You can easily access all the episodes of the series on Viki for free.

16. Trap (2019)

Starring: Lee Seo Jin, Sung Dong Il, Im Hwa Young, Kim Kwang Gyu, Seo Young Hee, Yoon Gyung Ho
Total Number of Episodes: 7

Trap

Trap

The story revolves around a renowned anchor of a broadcasting station named Kang Woo Hyun who lives a happy life with his family till one day, when he decides to join the political field. When he goes on a family trip, an unfortunate incident takes place which changes his life completely. He asks Kang Woo Hyun, a veteran detective, to take up the case and look into the matter. This might be a great watch for a mini-series if you like violence and gore.

17. Life on Mars (2018)

Starring: Jung Kyung Ho, Park Sung Woong, Go Ah Sung, Oh Dae Hwan, Noh Jong Hyun, Jun Suk Ho
Total Number of Episodes: 16

Life on Mars

Life on Mars

Han Tae Joo is the head of a crime investigation team who has prospered in his career with his hard work, owing to his stable trust over data than people. However, one day when he gets into an accident, during a murder case investigation, he wakes up only to find himself as a detective of a police station in a small town, in the winter of 1988. The only way to go back to the present time, is to solve the case that has been appointed to him. ‘Life on Mars’ is the Korean adaptation of the UK TV series bearing the same name.

18. Bad Guys (2014)

Starring: Kim Sang Joong, Park Hae Jin, Jo Dong Hyuk, Ma Dong Seok, Kang Ye Won, Kang Shin Il
Total Number of Episodes: 11

Bad Guys

Bad Guys

‘Bad Guys’ is a psychological crime thriller that follows a team of criminals consisting of a gangster named Park Woong Cheol, a young and witty serial killer named Lee Jung Moon, and a contract killer named Jung Tae Soo, enlisted by a suspended detective named Oh Goo Tak in order to fight against the rising violent crimes in the city. The team also includes police inspector Yoo Mi Young, whose job is to deal with the convicts rationally as well as emotionally and make them work in unison. You can watch all the episodes of the series on Netflix.

19. Tunnel (2017)

Starring: Choi Jin Hyuk, Yoon Hyun Min, Lee Yoo Young, Jo Hee Bong, Kim Byung Chul, Kang Ki Young
Total Number of Episodes: 16

Tunnel

Tunnel

The series involves two different time zones— one in 1986 and another in present-day Seoul. An excellent detective from 1986 named Park Gwang Ho has his life completely changed when he gets transported in future while investigating a serial murder case. He comes across an elite detective named Kim Sun Jae and ends up teaming up with him to track the same serial killer from 30 years ago who is still keeping up with his crime. The duo detective also has the psychology professor Shin Jae Yi for their aid. It is available to watch on various streaming platforms including Viki, We TV and Netflix.

20. Signal (2016)

Starring: Lee Je Hoon, Kim Hye Soo, Jo Jin Woong, Kim Won Hae, Lee Yoo Joon, Jang Hyun Sung
Total Number of Episodes: 16

Signal

Signal

One of the most acclaimed Korean projects, ‘Signal’ follows a criminal profiler named Park Hae Yeong who discovers a walkie talkie that lets him communicate with detective Lee Jae Han from 1989. Along with Cha So Hyun, who is the first woman police officer in their department, Hae Yeong and Lee Jae Han set out on a quest to prevent crimes from taking place, using the power of fore- and hindsight, along with uncovering the mysteries behind the cold cases. You can watch all the episodes of the series on Netflix, Viki and We TV.

21. Vagabond (2019)

Starring: Lee Seung Gi, Bae Suzy, Baek Yoon Shik, Shin Sung Rok, Moon Sung Geun, Kim Min Jong
Total Number of Episodes: 16

Vagabond

Vagabond

The series marks the reunion of Seung-gi and Bae Suzy, who have been co-actors in the historical romance fantasy, ‘Gu Family Book’. The story marks the revenge of stunt man Cha Dal-geon of the death of his nephew in a mysterious plane crash, with the help of a National Intelligence Service agent named Go Hae-ri. However, the process leads them to a bigger picture involving a national corruption scandal. You are free to check out the series on Netflix.

22. Flower of Evil (2020)

Starring: Lee Joon Gi, Moon Chae Won, Seo Hyun Woo, Jang Hee Jin, Nam Ki Ae, Son Jong Hak
Total Number of Episodes: 16

Flower of Evil

Flower of Evil

Although Baek Hee Sung seems to have a perfect loving family of his wife and daughter, and an established career of his own, he has a dark secret which he has been hiding for years. When his detective wife Cha Ji Won starts looking into a chain of murder incidents from 15 years, his happy little world begins to crumble. Not very long, Cha Ji Won begins to notice the change in her husband’s behaviour and gets suspicious if he has been keeping things from her. The international fans can watch the show online on Netflix, iQIYI, Viki and ViuTV.

23. Memorist (2020)

Starring: Yoo Seung Ho, Lee Se Young, Jo Sung Ha, Ko Chang Seok, Yoon Ji On, Jeon Hyo Sung
Total Number of Episodes: 16

Memorist

Memorist

Inspired from the 2016–2018 webtoon by Jae Hoo going by the same name, ‘Memorist’ revolves around a crime detective named Dong Baek who has the special ability to read people’s memories by mere physical contact. In order to solve a string of serial murders, Dong Baek joins forces with an elite criminal profiler named Han Sun-mi. However, the ongoing process ends up bringing them to the truth about their respective troubled pasts. Moreover, the mystery behind the murders turns out to be a lot more complicated than imagined. You can find the series on Viki and We TV.

24. The Good Detective (2020)

Starring: Son Hyun Joo, Jang Seung Jo, Lee Elijah, Oh Jung Se, Ji Seung Hyun, Son Jong Hak
Total Number of Episodes: 16

The Good Detective

The Good Detective

When a five-year-old murder conviction becomes dramatically convoluted, an experienced detective named Kang Do Chang partners with a young hotshot named Oh Ji Hyuk, both having a difference in their way of working, and goes on a journey to resolve the hidden truths about the case. The series involves a competition between people, with one side wanting to get closer to the truth, while the other being desperate to cover them. The show is available for stream on Netflix.

25. The Fiery Priest (2019)

Starring: Kim Nam Gil, Kim Sung Kyun, Go Jun, Lee Ha Nee, Geum Sae Rok, Jeon Sung Woo
Total Number of Episodes: 40

The Fiery Priest

The Fiery Priest

The series centres on the investigation of the murder of an elderly Catholic priest, carried out by another priest named Kim Hae Il, a timid detective named Koo Dae Young and a witty prosecutor named Park Kyung Sun. Kim Hae Il is a short-tempered person who refuses to compromise with injustice and decides to put the man behind the bars who caused the death of his father figure. All the episodes of ‘The Fiery Priest’ can be watched on Netflix, Viki and SBS World.

26. The Devil Judge (2021)

Starring: Ji Sung, Kim Min Jung, Park Gyu Young, Park Jin Young, Jeon Chae Eun, Kim Jae Kyung
Total Number of Episodes: 16

The Devil Judge

The Devil Judge

The series has been set in a dystopian world where courtroom trials are aired live on television like a reality show while three judges punish the evil mercilessly. In case you are a fan of dark mature shows featuring grey heroes, that are, neither too good nor too evil, ‘The Devil Judge’ must be the right choice for you. It is available to watch on Viki with a subscription.

27. Train (2020)

Starring: Yoon Shi Yoon, Kyung Soo Jin, Shin So Yool, Lee Hang Na, Nam Moon Chul, Jo Wan Ki
Total Number of Episodes: 12

Train

Train

‘Train’ is a Science-fiction crime thriller about a detective named Seo Do Won who finds his beloved, Han Seo Kyung, murdered by a chain killer. When he comes to know that a parallel universe exists, connected to an abandoned train station, where she is still alive, he decides to go to any extent to protect her. The series is available to watch on Viki.

28. Extracurricular (2020)

Starring: Kim Dong Hee, Park Joo Hyun, Jung Da Bin, Nam Yoon Su, Choi Min Soo, Park Hyuk Kwon
Total Number of Episodes: 10

Extracurricular

Extracurricular

The series explores the deeds of four high school students who, in order to earn money, begin to commit crimes and thus face unpredictable dangers as the consequences. Ji Soo becomes a criminal from a good student after doing something unpredictable, while Min Hee, who is a school bully, gets involved in his crime. Gyu Ri serves as Ji Soo’s partner-in-crime and Kwak Ki Tae is Min Hee’s boyfriend, completing the squad. You can easily get to access the episodes of the show on Netflix.

29. Player (2018)

Starring: Song Seung Heon, Krystal, Lee Si Eon, Tae Won Seok, Kim Won Hae, Ahn Se Ho
Total Number of Episodes: 14

Player

Player

‘Player’ revolves around four talented individuals consisting of a swindler, an elite hacker, a fighter and a talented driver, talented in their respective fields, who form a team together with a righteous prosecutor to solve crimes. Their work involves confiscation of black money hidden away by criminals and make sure to punish the ones who earn money illegally. You can watch the episodes online on We TV for free.

30. City Hunter (2011)

Starring:Lee Min Ho, Park Min Young, Lee Joon Hyuk, Kim Sang Joong, Hwang Sun Hee, Kim Mi Sook
Total Number of Episodes: 20

City Hunter

City Hunter

Inspired by a manga by Tsukasa Hojo titled the same, ‘City Hunter’ follows a talented MIT-graduate, Lee Yoon Sung, who is a member of Blue House’s international communications team. In order to take revenge of his father’s death, he plans to take down five politicians with the help of his foster father, Lee Jin Pyo, thus becoming the city hunter. The show can be watched online on Apple TV and Viki.

31. Prison Playbook (2017)

Starring: Park Hae Soo, Jung Kyung Ho, Krystal, Im Hwa Young, Ye Soo Jung, Kim Kyung Nam
Total Number of Episodes: 16

Prison Playbook

Prison Playbook

The story follows the life of a famous baseball player named Kim Je Hyuk, who is sentenced a year in confinement after he beats up a man who was trying to assault his sister sexually. There, he meets his childhood friend, working as a prison guard, who is also one of his biggest fans. The show explores the events that take place in the prison during Kim Je Hyuk’s stay and the people he meets. You can watch the episodes online on Netflix.

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