If you’ve had your fair share of K-drama binge sessions, you may have come across Kim Seo-hyung and some of her work. She is an actress who is known for playing charismatic villains—and she plays them phenomenally!
Having debuted in 1994, Seo-hyung is indeed a seasoned veteran in the business. She got her first acting gig for the KBS drama Tomorrow’s Love. She then went on to take several supporting roles for years, but she soon became a household name when she starred in the 2008 hit revenge drama, Temptation of Wife. This is when Seo-hyung started to prove to audiences that she has the grit to play an excellent villain role!
Over the years Seo-hyung has made a reputation for playing urban and strong female characters that went well with her facial features and unique voice. However, she doesn’t intend to be typecasted knowing that she has a wide range to her. But when asked about her notable villain roles, Kim shared that she found them “interesting” because they are “not one-dimensional” antagonists. She also reveals that she analyses her character to bring out their charm, and many would agree that whatever she did, it was working well for her.
Over the years, it has been evident that Seo-hyung has far improved in her craft. If you haven’t caught up with some of her work, here are 5 K-dramas that will show you her acting range!
In this 2021 Mystery-Drama Thriller, Kim Seo-hyung plays Jung Seo-hyun, a glamorous wealthy wife of the eldest son of a chaebol family. It’s a role that differs from her usual drama characters, but it’s one that highlights her unique talent yet again.
Jung Seo-hyung is a confident and competent woman who will do what it takes to protect her role in a rich dysfunctional family who owns the Hyowon Group. In this role, she considers family matters to be part of business. She balances her responsibilities so well which all came in handly when the rash behaviours of her husband’s family bring them all into chaos.
In a drama that is dominated by female empowerment, one might assume that rivalries would ensue between the characters. However, Mine defies expectations by showing their protagonists empowering each other. Lee Bo-young and Kim Seo-hyung had been praised for their performance and chemistry.
Seo-hyung’s story arc is particularly interesting because of her personal secret. Throughout the episodes, we see that she is brave and bold enough to break out of her comfort zone and is willing to take responsibility for her choices.
It’s entertaining to see a woman with a plan, and has the guts to see it through. Jung Seo-hyung shared that she took on this role because of the lesbian character—someting that is both controversial but timely. As Seo-hyung transforms into her character, she was able to showcase her knack to balance a cold personality with vulnerability simply by showing it through her eyes.
Nobody Knows (2020)
Still traumatized by the murder of her best friend 19 years ago by the Stigmata killer, Cha Young-jun (Kim Seo-hyung), who is now a detective, is determined to catch the culprit. She joins Master Lee Sun-woo (Ryu Deok-hwan) to protect the youth whose life would have been different if they had been surrounded by good adults.
As the main protagonist of this mystery-crime melodrama, Kim Seo-hyung nails hard-core sequences and a wave of emotions. Her character has a lot going on. After carrying the guilt about the death of her best friend for almost two decades, she finds herself in the same situation again.
This drama narrates a dark plot, but it also shows hope at the end of the tunnel. It tells that nobody is really born evil, rather it’s their own circumstances that turn them towards evil.
Sky Castle (2018)
SKY Castle is the 2018 drama that marked the most memorable roles Kim Seo-hyung ever played. It’s a satirical series that peeks into the materialistic desires of the upper-class parents in South Korea and how they would go to great lengths to secure the successes of their children at the cost of destroying other people’s lives.
The story mainly revolved around the lives and struggles of the different moms who lived in one of South Korea’s most exclusive villages. However, what made this drama even more remarkable is Coach Kim Joo-young (Kim Seo-hyung), a well-known tutor who is only available to the elite and caters to two students at a time.
She boasts of a 100% success rate in getting students accepted that is why parents are courting her left and right. Among them is Han Seo-jin (Yum Jung-ah) who is hell-bent on hiring Joo-young as her daughter’s tutor. When things went according to Seo-jin’s plan, she didn’t expect what came next. It turns out that the highly coveted tutor does more than what parents bargained for!
Kim Seo-hyung’s portrayal of the cold and calculating Coach Joo-young gave birth to one of the Korean drama’s most cunning villains. She didn’t have a crazy laugh, neither did she commit bloody murder. But it was the psychological warfare that she exacted on her prey that made her so hateable. All she had to do was this steely gaze that can only send shivers down your spine. Seo-hyung’s performance is a revelation that less is definitely more and she can easily send audiences in fits of rage with just a smirk or a stare!
Come and Hug Me (2018)
If you think that Come and Hug me is all cutesy and romantic, you’re in for a sweet surprise! This drama may have its fair share of romance, but it’s wrapped inside a deadly mystery as it also follows the story of a psychopathic killer.
Kim Seo-hyung may not be the main villain for this drama, but as reporter Park Hee-young, she came in a close second!
She may not be evil down to the bone, but she is a woman driven by her strong ambition as a reporter that she is willing to go to great lengths for a scoop—even if that means hurting some people along the way. She doesn’t mind throwing people under the bus if that meant getting what she needs. Leaving ethical journalism to the wind, she doesn’t care about the cost of putting her story together.
Although this was a recurring role, Seo-hyung’s character was something to watch out for because she leaves trouble in her path! Her acting was on point that she earned a nomination for this role at the 2018 MBC Drama Awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Wednesday-Thursday Miniseries
Assembly is a thrilling political drama that revolves around a veteran shipyard welder named Sang Pil (Jung Jae Young). He became the spokesman for his union after he and his co-workers got sacked unfairly. Things took an unexpected turnand he found himself elected into the national assembly and forced to play the political game, but lost his stand with the people he used to defend.
As Sang Pil tries to find his bearings in this chaotic political arena, he is not without any help! Seo Hyung plays the talented Hong Chan Mi, an assembly member and a supporter of the pro-Blue House faction. She becomes Sang Pil’s lawyer when he gets accused of bribery. Breathing calm sophistication into her role, Kim Seo-hyung was the only one who nabbed an award for this drama after she won the Best Supporting Actress at the 2015 KBS Drama Awards.
Temptation of Wife (2008)
Despite many controversies surrounding the questionable content of this 2008 melodrama, it remains as one of the most viewed dramas with a daily average viewership of around 30%. It was so well-received that it even spawned a Chinese and Philippine adaptation!
Temptation of Wife is a makjang (over-the-top) melodrama about Eun Jae (Jang Seo Hee), a woman who was believed to be dead and returns to get revenge on her cheating ex-husband and his new wife.
It became infamous for how its lead character only added a mole to her face to differentiate her new character from her old one, and how everyone else failed to recognize her. But with oddities aside, this drama really had a way to make the audiences’ blood boil, all thanks to Kim Seo-hyung who played the evil wife Ae Ri. It was here that she made her mark as one of K-dramaland’s most hated villains ever.
Seo-hyung herself credits her career’s success to “Temptation of Wife”. However, she revealed that after the series concluded she couldn’t get a job for years after because of her “too strong” portrayal of the adulterous Ae-ri. Seo-hyung anticipated that she would immediately be offered TV commercials and lead roles now that she has been getting more attention. However, both of which sadly never came. This left her devastated and traumatized. Fortunately, she started booking acting roles again in 2010, putting her career back on track.