Those who have been watching Korean dramas for a while must be aware of the fact that it’s not just the romance and comedy genres that this industry excels in— Korean dramas are well-known for their unique and creative action thrillers as well. Let’s be honest; no one gets bored while watching something full of mysteries, action scenes, suspense, and a blooming romance. So this time, we have come up with a list of the top ten most popular action thrillers that you should immediately add to your watchlist.
Director: Kim Jin Woo, Lee Jung Sub
Starring: Ji Chang Wook, Park Min Young, Kim Mi Kyung, Do Ji Won, Yoo Ji Tae, Park Sang Won
The drama depicts the special night courier’s story, Seo Jung Hoo, going by the code name, Healer. His job is to get whatever his clients ask him to, but it should not involve any murder scheme. For the sake of his new project, he must involve himself with Chae Young Shin and Kim Moon Ho, who are a second-rate tabloid writer, and a successful reporter respectively. However, while trying to fulfil his job, many hidden plots unfold, and he comes to know about his past connection with the two, threatening the life of all three of them.
The series consists of almost everything, starting from action, mystery, drama, and romance. You can stream all the episodes of the series online on Netflix, Viki, and Apple TV.
Descendants of the Sun (2016)
Director: Lee Eung Bok, Baek Sang Hoon
Screenwriter: Kim Won Seok, Kim Eun Sook
Starring: Song Joong Ki, Song Hye Kyo, Jin Goo, Kim Ji Won, Lee Seung Jun, Seo Jung Yeon
The story revolves around a cardiothoracic surgeon, Kang Mo Yeon, a beautiful, hard-working, and assertive woman, keeping the belief that what matters the most in the world is the capabilities of a person. However, this illusion of her’s breaks soon, and she realises that advancing just based on the capabilities is not possible. However, her life takes a sharp turn when she comes across the team leader and Captain of Alpha Team, who is always ready to protect— be it his country or an individual, even if he has to go against his superiors’ orders.
Descendants of the Sun is a must-watch drama showcasing the bond of two people belonging to different fields during the time of war, overcoming all the obstacles on their way. You can watch the entire drama on Netflix, We TV, Viki, Hulu, and Apple TV.
Director: Jeong Dae Yun
Screenwriter: Song Jae Jung
Starring: Han Hyo Joo, Lee Jong Suk, Lee Tae Hwan, Kim Eui Sung, Lee Si Eon, Jung Yoo Jin
The drama tells the story of Oh Yeon Joo, a cardiothoracic surgeon, after her father, a webtoon writer, Oh Sung Moo, goes missing mysteriously while working on the finale of the webtoon titled ‘W.’ While looking for him, she goes to his office. Still, shockingly she gets pulled into the monitor by a hand, and before she realises anything, she discovers herself on a rooftop, and before she is an injured man. She succeeds in saving the person but later realises that he is none other than the webtoon’s lead character, Kang Cheol. Soon, Yeon Joo later gets to know that her fate now lies in Kang Cheol’s hands since it now depends on his feelings, which will let her enter into or leave the webtoon.
The drama has a unique and attractive plotline, due to which it has amassed a huge number of viewers. Featuring two different worlds— a real-world and a world of fantasy, the drama is full of suspense, action, and twists. If you are interested in it, you can surely check it out on Netflix, We TV, Viki, and Apple TV.
Lawless Lawyers (2018)
Director: Kim Jin-Min
Screenwriter: Yoon Hyun Ho
Starring: Lee Joon Gi, Seo Ye Ji, Lee Hye Young, Choi Min Soo, Lee Ro Woon, Lee Dae Yeon
The drama revolves around Bong Sang Pil, who grew up in a gangster-like environment, full of tough physical fights and evading the law. Everything was alright until one day when his mother suffers a tragic death, which makes Sang Pil determined to take revenge for her. He becomes a lawyer and investigates powerful people who believe that they are even beyond the law. Since he is already acquainted with such people’s skillful and cunning nature, he uses both the legal loopholes and his tricks to win the case in his favour. On the other hand, we have Ha Jae Yi, who cannot stand injustice, because of which she even gets suspended for hitting a judge who was passing an unfair statement. She gets bound to work for Sang Pil for paying off her past debts, and both of them get involved in a case against a powerful senior judge, Cha Moon Sook, and a former gangster, now the president of a large corporation.
They will have to figure out a way to outwit the city’s mighty people and win in this dangerous game. The drama is available to watch on Viki and Apple TV along with English subtitles.
Flower of Evil (2020)
Director: Yoon Jong Ho, Kim Chul Gyu
Screenwriter: Yoo Jung Hee
Starring: Lee Joon Gi, Moon Chae Won, Jang Hee Jin, Seo Hyun Woo, Nam Ki Ae, Son Jong Hak
The story is about a man with several dark secrets, Baek Hee Sung, who sets up a family of his own in an attempt to hide his real identity. Although he suffers from an antisocial personality disorder, he ends up being a caring husband and father with a fruitful career. However, his peaceful life starts shattering when his wife, Cha Ji Won, who is a murder mystery detective, is assigned to look into a murder case that took place fifteen years ago. As she goes deeper into it, she starts suspecting that her husband might have something to do with it and that he is hiding a terrible truth from her.
The plot has been stated as gripping, exhilarating, addictive, and refreshing. The unique, fast-paced nature of this psychological crime thriller will get you at the edge of your seat. You can check out the drama on Viki, Apple TV, Netflix, and on We TV.
Director: Yoo In Shik
Screenwriter: Jung Kyung Soon, Jang Young Chul
Starring: Lee Seung Gi, Bae Suzy, Shin Sung Rok, Baek Yoon Shik, Moon Sung Geun, Kim Min Jong
After his nephew’s death in a strange plane crash, Cha Dal Gun, an underrated stuntman, becomes a merciless tiger and sets out on a journey to look for more details and unfold the truth behind the crash, which was not merely an automobile malfunction. Although he was himself an orphan, he singlehandedly managed to raise his nephew and had a loving relationship with him. He is asked to team up with a covert operative, Go Hae Ri, working for the National Intelligence Service. She is the daughter of a late marine officer who initially wanted to serve as a civil servant in order to support her family but ended up doing something else. Both of them, Cha Dal Gun and Go Hae Ri, work together and come to know about a tangled web of corruption, which led to the plane’s crashing.
Aided with top-notch action, amazing cinematography, and beautiful music, the drama is surely a must-watch for all the fans of this genre. It is available to watch on Netflix along with English subtitles.
The K2 (2016)
Director: Kwak Jung Hwan
Screenwriter: Jang Hyuk Rin
Starring: Ji Chang Wook, Im Yoon Ah, Song Yoon Ah, Jo Sung Ha, Kim Gab Soo, Lee Jung Jin
The K2 revolves around an ex-mercenary soldier who flees away when he is accused wrongly of killing his girlfriend while he has been serving in Iraq. He manages to return to Korea and gets employed as a bodyguard for the owner of JSS Security, Choi Yoo Jin, who is also the wife of a president-in-running, Jang Se Joon. Je Ha decides to seek his revenge on the head of the current ruling party, Park Kwan Soo, whom he believes to have ordered her girlfriend’s death. Later, Je Ha is asked to protect the illegitimate daughter of Se Joon, Go An Na, for whom he develops strong feelings. However, things begin to complicate when he comes to know that the biggest threat to An Na’s life is none other than Yoo Jin, his boss.
Ji Chang Wook and action thrillers never go out of style, and this is, yet again, proven in this drama. You can enjoy watching it on Netflix, Viki, Apple TV, and on We TV.
Memories Of The Alhambra (2018)
Director: Ahn Gil Ho
Screenwriter: Song Jae Jung
Starring: Hyun Bin, Park Shin Hye, Park Hoon, Lee Seung Jun, Min Jin Woong, Kim Eui Sung
The show, Memories Of The Alhambra, centers on Jung Hee Joo and Yoo Jin Woo’s suspenseful love story. After getting betrayed by his best friend, Yoo Jin Woo, who is the president of an investment company, and skilled with the development of video games, he sets out on a business trip to Granada in Spain, looking for a mysterious inventor, the developer of a creative video game. After a series of incidents, he lives at a hostel owned by Jung Hee Joo, a former classical guitarist currently living in Spain for higher studies. She has to support her own life after both her parents die, due to which she takes on several jobs, including the running of her old hostel. Things start getting complicated soon as they both get drawn into strange and unexpected incidents.
The intriguing concept, realistic animations, and great visuals overall made this drama something not worthy to be missed. All the episodes are available to be streamed online on Netflix.
Hello Monster (2015)
Director: No Sang Hoon, Kim Jin Won
Screenwriter: Kwon Ki-Young
Starring: Seo In Guk, Jang Na Ra, Park Bo Gum, Choi Won Young, Lee Chun Hee, Min Sung Wook
The drama centers on a genius profiler Lee Hyun, who comes back to Korea, to the crime scene, all the way from the US, because of an anonymous email. Detective Cha Ji-an, who is one of his team members, begins investigating him behind his back, being aware of the fact that his father was killed. At the same time, his brother went missing under strange circumstances, which involves the criminal Lee Joon Young, whom both of them wants to be incarcerated. As both of them get deeper in the investigation, things begin to entangle, and they get drawn into the deadly cat and mouse game, which is, yet again, played by a mastermind.
The amazing cast and the suspenseful story is enough to make this drama stand out among the crowd. You can check it out on Viki, where it is available to watch with English subtitles.
Kill It (2019)
Director: Nam Sung Woo, Ahn Ji Sook
Screenwriter: Son Hyun Soo, Choi Myung Jin
Starring: Nana, Jang Ki Yong, Roh Jeong Eui, Lee Jae Won, Jung Hae Kyun, Ji Il Joo
Although it seems like Kim Soo-Hyun is an ordinary veterinarian on the surface, he is actually an elite assassin, who traces his target, kills it, and then goes away. He gets hired by many powerful individuals and organizations all around the world, but no one knows anything about him. His only companions are the animals, though he seeks true love and care. On the contrary, Do Hyun Jin is a brilliant detective from Seoul, who, though appears distant and unapproachable on the surface, is, in fact, a very sympathetic girl who cares for individuals. Kim Soo-Hyun is asked to kill someone so that he can know about his past life, while she needs to take revenge for the death of her close ones, who she believes, were killed by Kim Soo Hyun.
Kill It is a dark and intense crime drama featuring topics like— illegal organ harvesting, nature vs. nurture, and research and medical ethics. It is available to stream on Viki along with English subtitles.