Most K-drama watchers love a good heart-fluttering romance, even if it means sitting through episode after episode containing endless layers of misunderstandings, love-hate relationships, and characters denying they're obviously head over heels over someone they want. But personally I've grown sick of all that lovey-dovey stuff (maybe I've suffered from too much second-lead syndrome?), turning instead to intense and sometimes dark crime dramas rooted in oppressive structures. A logical reversal, right?
And for anyone else who wants to break out of the romance drama loop, here's a list of some mind-boggling, mystery-riddled crime dramas that will make you look over your shoulder the next time you head out late in the evening.
Kim Young Goon (Seo Kang Joon) is a rough-and-tumble patrol officer who has no hesitation in rebeling against authority, perhaps owing in part to his father's murder of his mom, a childhood trauma that has haunted him to this day. It comes as no surprise, given his disdain for abuse of power, that Young Goon joins an anti-corruption unit aimed at catching bad cops alongside longtime detective Do Chi Gwang (Han Suk Kyu), who turns out to be used to working with his father.
2. The Cursed
What would you do if you were told by a high school student that she could curse someone using their picture, personal belongings and name written in hanja (Chinese characters) only? Roll your eyes and walk away, perhaps, as reporter Lim Jin Hee (Uhm Ji Won) does the first time that So Jin (Jeong Ji So) confronts her, who says that she has the power to cast lethal curses on others.
Centered on the famous webtoon of the same name, "Memorist" focuses on Dong Baek (Yoo Seung Ho), a police detective capable of reading memories of individuals whenever he touches them. Although this supernatural ability makes him an invaluable tool in catching wrongdoers, during his investigations he is often a bit of a loose cannon, sometimes turning to physical abuse.
4. Chief Kim
The basic aim of Kim Sung Ryong (Namgoong Min) in life is to save enough money to travel to Denmark. One day, a golden opportunity falls into his lap, leading him to become manager of a large corporation's accounting department, where he plans to secretly bilk some money using his extensive accounting abilities to fulfil his vision. However, he soon finds himself caught up in a deep web of corruption within the business, and is forced to choose between doing the right thing and leaving what should have been an simple path to a happy Danish life.