Here is to our beloved K-drama villains! The ones we loved to hate during our Korean drama journey so far.
Whether they were so evil that we were scared, so cliche that we cringed or just so overall complex written and acted out that we were in awe.
Sometimes these villains became scene-stealers and had us invested in their story just as much as the good guys.
On occasion, it is also these villains that drive the story forward and without them the end product just would not be complete.
This post is in recognition of the actors bringing our beloved K-drama villains to life, as well as the writers creating these unforgettable characters.
Spoiler Alert: Some of the below villains remain hidden until the end of their respective drama and knowing ahead of time could change your viewing experience. Consider yourself warned if this is something that may bother you. 😉
Kim Jae-Wook as Mo Tae-Gu in ‘Voice’
Mo Tae-Gu is a handsome rich guy, who is the CEO of Sungwoon Express. Mo Tae- Gu is also a serial killer; a psychopath. He kills for the entertainment. With his father always having his back and creating alibis for him left and right, he has never been caught. He is trilled to finally learn that the police are on to him.
I’ve been a fan of Kim Jae-Wook since ‘Coffee Prince’. I’m not saying I have watched every drama he was in, but I’m close. I love how he portrayed this character. He was convincing enough to have me wishing Mo Tae-Gu a lot of suffering by the end of the drama.
Song Yoon-Ah as Choi Yoo-Jin in ‘The K2’
Choi Yoo-Jin is the wife of the [hopefully] soon-to-be president. Everyone sees in her the sweet woman who would be perfect as the next first lady.
What they don’t see, is how she controls every political aspect behind the scenes. Choi Yoo-Jin is not one to ask nicely if she wants something. She demands it by either blackmailing or killing, getting rid of anyone who stands in her way without thinking twice.
Song Yoon-Ah wasn’t a name I was familiar with when I started watching ‘The K2’. I know, I know, shame on me. But as I was watching the drama, I couldn’t help but falling more and more for her acting.
She portrayed the character in a way that never let you doubt that underneath all that evil there was still a fragile person. A person that carried with her a life of disappointments. She made me root for her on more occasions than I want to admit.
Uhm Gi-Joon as Jo Hyun-Min in ‘Phantom’ aka ‘Ghost’
I have seen Uhm Gi-Joon morph into many characters, but I have to say I love him best as the villain. He just has that aura around him that he always knows more than he lets on.
‘Phantom’ aka ‘Ghost’ was the first drama I saw Uhm Gi-Joon in as a villain. Previously only having seen him in dramas such as ‘Dream High’ and ‘Scent of a Woman’, where he played the nice supporting character.
Jo Hyun-Min isn’t one to play nice. He is a very tech-savvy man knowing how to use it to his advantage. When the police are on to him for a murder he committed, he stops at nothing to derail their plans of catching him. The police soon realize they are in for more than they bargained for.
Jung Woong-In as Min Joon-Gook in ‘I hear your voice’
Jung Woong-In is one of my favourite actors portraying the bad guy. He just knows how to add that certain something to his characters to make your skin crawl.
Giving life to the manipulative and cold character Min Joon-Gook is ample proof of his skills.
Joon-Gook used a tragic incident in his past as an excuse, blaming everyone else for the tragedies in his life. Even the ones resulting as a direct consequence of his bad actions.
Becoming obsessed with revenge, his ultimate goal was to pull his victims down to his level in order to somehow justify what he was doing
Even though Min Joon-Gook was just a character, he seemed so real. From his taunting voice to that evil look in his eyes, he left a deep impression on me.
Yu Oh-Seong as Ki Cheol in ‘The Great Doctor’ aka ‘Faith’
Yu Oh-Seong was perfect in his performance of Lord Ki Cheol.
Throughout the drama, Ki Cheol proved time and again just how ruthless he could be. The only person that mattered to this villain was himself. Once he set his sight on something or someone, he would rather see it destroyed than give up on possessing it.
And with a greed like Ki Cheol’s, there was always more he longed to have.
Yu Oh-Seong managed to interpret this complex character in a way that made him a roller coaster of comic relief and threatening enemy. Due to this, one did not miss the underlying danger Lord Ki Cheol represented, even while smiling at one of his antics.
David McInis as Agus in ‘Descendants of the sun’
David McInis was a new face to the K-drama world, but his portrayal of Agus in ‘DOTS’ certainly left its mark.
Originally a team member of the US special forces, Agus decides to switch sides…because being the bad guy is financially more rewarding [according to him].
With his rash temper and lack of loyalty, nobody around Agus is safe, regardless how long they have worked for him. From weapons and precious gems smuggle to human trafficking, he seems to have his hand in it all. Without any sign of remorse at the pain inflicted on others, this character is truly chilling.
Although we may not be able to relate to Agus and his evil ways, there was that one moment when K-drama fans around the world felt like he was speaking for them:
Lee Bo-Hee as Yang Sun-Hee in ‘Wild Romance’
Yang Sun-Hee appeared to be your everyday ahjumma looking after a famous baseball player’s house.
What a surprise everyone was in for when it was revealed that she had been harbouring a secret obsession for him.
Sun-Hee went to great lengths to manipulate other people’s weaknesses, getting them to do her dirty work for her without them even realizing it.
The character also strongly alluded to the lasting damage that bullying/mindless gossip can cause to a person.
Props to Lee Bo-Hee for making this character seem so unassuming. Only at a second or third look did one catch all the minute things raising red flags and the hairs on our necks alike.
Justin Chon as Seth Go in ‘Dramaworld’
Seth Go comes across as the most helpful person to Claire, who is a newly arrived outsider to ‘Dramaworld’. As such he directs her on how to conduct herself as a ‘facilitator’ in her new surroundings so as to not disturb the flow of things.
Everyone is unaware that Seth is the mastermind behind many of the events that have been happening in the drama, including murder.
Justin Chon did this character justice by giving us a Seth that seemed trustworthy while also displaying signs of fraying on the edges.
Yoon Hyun-Min as Lee Joon-Hee in ‘Falling for Innocence’ aka ‘Falling in Love with for Soon-Jung’ aka ‘Beating Again’
After previously only seeing Yoon Hyun-Min in good guy roles and/or quirky best friend roles, his interpretation of Lee Joon-Hee threw me for a loop.
Lee Joon-Hee feels held back by his circumstances, including his poor upbringing and his father’s servant attitude towards any higher ups.
His goal is to become powerful enough to make all that go away and to finally succeed in life and in love.
When his best friend, a police officer, gets in the way of his ambition, Joon-Hee does not hesitate to get rid of him. Acting like he had no involvement in his friend’s death, he remains close to his friend’s fiance with the intention of pursuing her himself.
Even when Lee Joon-Hee’s ultimately self destructive actions catch up to him, he continues to see himself as the victim. A victim whom life did not award what he deserved but instead gave it to others.
Son Seung-Won/Park Sang-Won as Kim Moon-Sik in ‘Healer’
Kim Moon-Sik was one of the most unique K-drama villains I’ve come across.
Due to his shy nature he easily blended into the background even among his closest friends. Falling in love and coveting his friend’s girlfriend, is what could be said started his downfall.
When the opportunity arose, Kim Moon-Sik grabbed it and obtained the two things he had always wanted: The girl he loved and financial security.
Totally disregarding that this meant he put himself into the hands of a manipulating organization and in exchange for selling out his closest friends.
Over the course of the next 20 or so years, Moon-Sik lived his life with no one around him the wiser about his less-than-ethical connections.
As his past deeds started to come to light, rather than coping with the repercussions, Kim Moon-Sik got lost deeper in a world of his own making.
It was at this point that it became painfully obvious that his troubled mind had created a delusional life – both past and current – for himself.
Both Park Sang-Won and Son Seung-Won deserve praise for making this character’s transition from a 20-something to a middle-aged man so seamless.
Shin Seung-Rok as Lee Jae-Kyung in ‘My Love From a Star’
Shin Seung-Rok was a unfamiliar face when I first met him as the character Lee Jae-Kyung.
Lee Jae-Kyung was ambitious and greedy and anyone interfering with his plan had to be eliminated. No exceptions!
Even before any of Lee Jae-Kyung’s evil deeds were revealed, there was something calculating in the look of his eyes that made the hairs on my neck stand up.
And who can forget that particular gesture of his where he would twirl that nail ring he wore while contemplating his next move?
Shin Seung-Rok did a stellar job morphing into this character and making it uniquely frightening.
Nam Gong-Min as Kwon Jae-Hee in ‘The girl who sees smells’
Ohhh Nam Gong-Nim…where to start with you?
Here is a truly versatile actor who can sell both the villain and good guy characters flawlessly.
Nam Gong-Min first caught my attention in ‘Can you hear my heart’, but it was his interpretation of chef-turned-serial-killer Kwon Jae-Hee that put him on my list of favourite villain actors.
Nam Gong-Min has that chilling way about him when playing the bad guy and I.LOVE.IT. Although I have recently also watched him do amazing in several ‘good guy’ roles, I continue to prefer him as a K-drama villain.
Lim Ju-Hwan as Choi Sung-Jae in ‘Oh my Ghost’
Lim Ju-Hwan is another one of those actors I feel was made to play the bad guy [in my humble opinion]. I do feel a little bad saying that about any actor. Like I’m somehow typecasting them and no one wants that.
When Lim Ju-Hwan slipped into the roll of police officer Choi Sung-Jae, it was perfection. Specially when it became apparent that Sung-Jae had been possessed by an evil spirit!
So now there were basically two characters fighting to take control of one body. Not only did Lim Ju-Hwan succeed in showing off the depth of darkness of the evil spirit. He also managed to keep the human that was the character Choi Sung-Jae alive and relatable.“Oh my ghost” (Korean Drama) Review
Bonus Feature: Song Jae-Rim as Killer Kim in ‘Two weeks’
Last but not least here we are with a bonus feature to our beloved K-drama villains, namely Killer Kim.
As if being blessed with Lee Joon-Gi’s presence in ‘Two Weeks’ wasn’t enough, the K-drama world saw fit to give us Song Jae-Rim as Killer Kim within the same drama. **faints**
Besides impressing with his performance as Killer Kim, Song Jae-Rim is on this list due to the fact that both R and myself are absolute fans of his versatile acting.
Whether he plays a ruthless [and oh so handsome looking] sharpshooter for hire, a bodyguard to the king (Moon embracing the sun) or steals our heart as second lead [in every drama he was ever in], Song Jae-Rim is nothing if not convincing.
So here is hoping to him getting some well deserved lead roles in the future so we may stop suffering second-lead-syndrome.