If romance and melodrama are not your jam, then you have come to the right place. We all love a good suspense drama that will keep us on the edge of our seats throughout. When we hear Korean drama, we often think of typical romantic dramas and high school dramas. But there are many well-made suspense thrillers in kdramas that are bound to keep you on the edge of your seat.
If suspense and dark plots are your cup of tea, then you, my friend, have come to the right place!
15 Suspense Thriller Korean dramas
1. Sky Castle(2018)
Starring- Yum Jung Ah, Lee Tae Ran, Yoon Se Ah, Oh Na Ra, Kim Seo Hyung
In a luxurious neighbourhood in Seoul, lives families of high school students whose parents are aiming to get their children admitted to the SKY universities. SKY stands for Seoul University, Korea University, and Yonsei University, these 3 universities are considered to be the top universities in Korea. Parents struggle day and night and use all possible means to get their children into these universities.
These families too, are in cut-throat competition to get the best for their children. What follows is inhumane and manipulating practices and a spine-chilling teacher, which you shall never want around or around students. A must watch to know about the pressures that the children have to go through in today’s education scenario.
Starring- Lee Ji Ah, Kim So Yeon, Eugene, Um Ki Joon, Yoon Jong Hoon, Park Eun Seok, Jo Soo Min, Kim Young Dae, Kim Hyun Soo, Han Ji Hyun, Jin Ji Hee, Choi Ye Bin
Episodes- Season 1, Season 2, Season 3[upcoming]
If you are aware of the kdrama world, then you must have heard of this drama. This drama has all the sensational things happening in the storyline, from murder, lobbying, bullying, cheating, manipulation, betrayal, and much more. The story may initially seem similar to Sky Castle but is an elevated version of it. Every scene of every episode has so many twists and turns that you can’t lose your focus for a moment. The drama follows the lives of the residents of the Hera Palace, located in the heart of Seoul.
All the rich people of the area live in this posh building. These pretentious people and their children are in a forever battle against each other, and oh boy! The drama is a rollercoaster and was among the highest ranked tv shows in Korea. The show is about to come up with the third and final season, so you can start watching it now to finish it just in time.
Starring- Lee Jong Suk, Han Hyo Joo
Each one of us has read at least one comic book in our lives, and what if you could go inside the comic book world? This is the story of this Kdrama. A webtoon artist named Oh Seung Moo played by Kim Eui Sung, is the author of the webtoon ‘W’. One day he mysteriously disappears, and his daughter enters his room to investigate.
She sees the computer is switched on and is then pulled inside the screen. And boom! She enters an alternate universe where there is a real-world of the webtoon and the webtoon characters have come to life. What happens next is her constant back and forth from the real world to the world of the webtoon. The Korean drama is full of suspense and is unique in its storyline
4. Sweet Home(2021)
Starring- Song Kang, Lee Si Young, Lee Do Hyun, Lee Jin Wook
Based on the webtoon of the same name, the residents of the apartment ‘Sweet Home’ find themselves in an apocalyptic world with humans turning to monsters one fine morning. A fight for survival ensues along with the people among themselves turning to monsters. No one trusts anyone and is always highly suspicious.
Every episode of the drama will keep you on the edge of your seat. The drama ends on a cliffhanger, but don’t worry, because it has been renewed for upcoming seasons.
Starring- Song Joong Ki, Jeon Yeo Bin, Ok Taec Yeon, Kwak Dong Yeon
If you like mafia and gangster plots, then this one is for you. Vincenzo Cassano played by Song Joong Ki, a Korean by birth, was adopted to Italy when he was 8 years old. He grows up as the adopted son of the Cassano family and was a lawyer and consigliere to them. While serving the Cassano family, he had also helped a Chinese businessman hide gold in Korea. Unfortunate events follow and his adopted father and the Chinese businessman both die. He returns to Korea to recover the gold but is met with struggles and corruption.
Song Joong Ki as Vincenzo is the perfect choice for the role and has displayed top notch acting. Another plus point of the drama is that none of the characters in the drama is wasted. Each one of them has its purpose and helps Vincenzo in its own ways. Highly recommend this drama from my side.
6. Flower of Evil(2020)
Starring- Lee Joong Gi, Moon Chae Won
If you watched Scarlet Heart Ryeo and feel sadness because of Lee Joong Gi’s character, then consider this drama as your medicine. Baek Hee Sung played by Lee Joong Gi, is a man with a happy family consisting of a supporting wife and a loving daughter. Everything seems well until his past comes haunting him. The Korean drama has suspicious serial murder cases going on throughout the episodes. Although the villain is revealed very late in the drama, he surely is a villain for all of us to remember.
7. Save Me(2017)
Starring- Ok Taec Yeon, Seo Yea Ji, Woo Do Hwan, Jo Sung Ha
Thriller based on the religious cults, Save Me is a Korean drama that will make you feel heavy for a long time. The I’m family moves to the suburbs of Seoul only to fall into the traps of a religious cult that will slowly take over their whole family. Anything more than this will spoil the drama, so you will have to watch it on your own to know the story. Only one warning is that it is surely not for the faint hearted.
Starring- Bae Doo Na, Ju Ji Hyun, Jeon Seok Ho, Ryu Seong Ryong
Zombie movies are always a big hit among viewers, but what if there were zombies in the past too?
The drama set in the Joseon period of Korea follows a zombie outbreak and the mysterious causes that led to it. Added with it, is the palace politics and war for the throne.
The drama is a thriller and it does not let you off the seat even once. You cannot miss out on even one minute of the drama, that’s how engaging it is.
The drama is an ongoing one and is expected to come out with its 3rd season soon, so you can watch it now just in time.
9. He is Psychometric(2019)
Starring- Park Jin Young, Shin Ye Eun, Kim Kwon, Kim Da Som
In our childhood, while watching cartoons, we all wanted to acquire superpowers and become superheroes. But what if we do actually end up acquiring them? What do we do then? This is what happens with Lee Ahn played by Park Jin Young, who acquires the superpower of psychometry in an accident that consumed his whole family. Psychometry is the ability to read a person or an object’s past by touching it. He uses his skills to help catch criminals.
He later finds out the actual truth and the culprits behind his parents’ death and it is the person you would least expect to be. This Korean drama is the perfect balance of suspense and romance and never lets you off the hook.
Starring- Lee Seung Gi, Bae Suzy, Shin Sung Rok
Determined to uncover the death of his nephew, Cha Dal Gun played by Lee Seung Gi, sets on a mission to catch the culprits of the plane crash which took his nephew’s life. The story takes place in Korea and Morocco with deeper secrets and corruption unveiled every step of the way. He teams up with a National Intelligence Service Agent Go Hae Ri played by Suzy on his mission.
The Kdrama ends on a cliffhanger, and the show was said to have another season, but there has been no announcement from Netflix just yet.
Starring- Kim Dong Hee, Park Ju Hyun, Jung Da Bin, Nam Yoon Soo
This drama is a unique one given that we have not seen high school students getting involved in illegal business in a Korean drama. Oh Ji Soo played by Kim Dong Hee, is a high school student who lives alone and is the top student with excellent grades. Because of financial problems, he retorts to being a partner in an illegal business to earn money to be able to afford college.
He gets caught in a trap when one of his classmates gets to know his secret and another classmate gets caught by the police. The climax will of the drama leaves you puzzled. The drama has received a lukewarm response from the Korean audience given that they are not comfortable watching high school students in a dark drama but were hugely loved by the international audience. The show is expected to have more seasons.
12. Suspicious Partner(2017)
Starring- Ji Chang Wook, Nam Ji Hyun, Choi Tae Joon, Kwon Nara
This drama will go into history because of its villain. From my kdrama watching history and experience, the villain of this suspense thriller is the scariest one I have ever seen. This is a psychological thriller coupled with the law because the villain continuously manipulates the protagonists to his own advantage. I would highly recommend this drama to all thriller lovers.
13. Memories of the Alhambra(2018)
Starring- Hyun Bin, Park Shin Hye
This one is for the gamers. We have come a long way in the evolution of gaming devices from remote controlled games to present-day VR(virtual reality) games, but what if you could play games by wearing a contact lens? Unbelievable, isn’t it? In this drama, two Korean gaming enthusiast youngsters in Spain develop an augmented reality game that can be played by wearing a lens. The two contacted two big Korean companies to offer their game, unknowing to the faults and future of the game.
This drama keeps you on the edge of your seat every time and not a single episode is without twists and turns.
14. The Uncanny Counter(2020)
Starring- Jo Byung Gyu, Kim Se Jong, Yeom Hye Ran, Yoo Jun Sang
The story follows the lives of 4 counters whose job is to catch evil spirits. The powers possessed by the counters are given to them by the Heavenly authorities in exchange for saving their lives when being in a state of coma. They have a special sense which can detect evil spirits near to them.
All 4 of them possess different special abilities which work altogether to catch and send these evil spirits away to get their deserved punishment.
The drama is interesting to watch because it shows a different kind of working to catch evil spirits.
Watch it for the villain who is one the craziest of the lot.
15. The Tale of The Nine Tailed(2020)
Starring- Lee Dong Wook, Jo Bo Ah, Kim Bum, Hwang Hee, Kim Yong Ji
The tale of the Gumiho is a mysterious and fascinating one in Korean mythology. Gumiho is nine-tailed foxes who are alive for centuries and shapeshift into a beautiful woman to seduce men and eat their liver. But the Gumiho in this drama is a handsome one you cannot take your eyes off. The antagonist of the drama is another mythological character Imoogi. Imoogi is known to be a huge snake who aspires to be a dragon. The drama is a beautiful supernatural drama coupled with the perfect amount of suspense. You have to watch out for Kim Bum’s character because that will just steal your heart.
Korean dramas have been infamous for their over-the-top romances and couples, but if you look beyond that, they have produced some teeth-gritting dramas that leave you wanting more. So which ones are next on your list?
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