Starting out with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, who would have thought that Namkoong Min would find a career in South Korea’s entertainment industry. However, fans couldn’t be happier for this switch because that redirection gave us the notable contributions Namkoong Min had in the industry.
Known for his warm smiles, Namkoong Min is one of those actors who can transform it into a menacing look in the blink of an eye. This was a testament to his acting chops which he was able to stretch in different directions in his various projects.
If you’ve developed a growing fascination for his talent, here are 7 drama series you can binge!
Listen to My Heart (2011)
Namkoong Min gained widespread attention in this melodrama as he played the long lost big brother.
This drama is woven with complications that centered around the love story between Cha Dong Joo (Kim Jaewon) and Bong Woo Ri (Hwang Jung Eum). Dong Joo is a man who ended up losing his hearing after a childhood accident but chose to keep it a secret.
Woo Ri, on the other hand, is an intelligent woman who pretends to be dim-witted to protect the dignity of her mentally handicapped father. After the tragedy that took the life of Woo Ri’s mother, her stepbrother Jang Joon Ha (Namkoong Min) decides to leave and promises to come back but never does.
Woo Ri grows up continuously searching for him until she meets Dong Joo. Little do they know that they’re actually connected through Dong Joo’s stepbrother Bong Ma Roo, who is actually the “long-lost” Joon Ha.
Bong Ma Roo is actually a complex character. Throughout the story you see him pushed to the edge until he finally snaps and decides, “since you expect me to be evil–well, I’ll just be evil.” This was a poignant episode in the series when he finally turned to the dark side, and yet, you still feel so bad for him.
Beautiful Gong Shim (2016)
It’s a romantic comedy that tells the story of Ahn Dan Tae (Namkoong Min), a human rights lawyer who’s unaware that he’s actually a chaebol heir. Gong Shim (Bang Minah) was a woman who always felt that she played second fiddle to her older sister who was a beautiful and successful lawyer.
Left without any space in their rented house after her family turned her previous bedroom into a walk-in closet for her sister, Gong Shim used up all her money to rent a room on the rooftop of the same building her family is living in. However, after realizing that she’s short on funds for her trip to Italy to pursue her dream of becoming an artist, she decides to rent out her room to Dan Tae.
Dan Tae becomes friendly with Seok Joon Soo (On Joo Wan), the temporary heir of Star Group, whose father was born to his grandfather’s mistress. Joon Soo’s grandmother has long been grieving over the loss of her real blood-related grandson, Joon Pyo, who was kidnapped as a child.
Dan Tae grew close to her and soon entrusted the task of finding the missing heir. This is where his path crossed with Gong Shim’s yet again after she landed a job as a personal secretary to Joon Soo’s father—and that’s because of her ordinary look.
As Gong Shim settles in her new company, she falls for Joon Soo. However, Dan Tae has grown jealous of this after having grown some fondness towards the unassuming lady. Furthermore, Gong Shim’s sister becomes her rival when she accidentally meets Joon Soo and decides to get close to him because of his status. In a crazy twist, Dan Tae just might be the Joon Pyo, even though he doesn’t recall any memory of his traumatic past.
Good Manager (2017)
Kim Sung Ryong (Namkoong Min) is a small-time accountant from Gunsan, who was working for a mobster. He was investigated every year for accounting fraud and tax evasion but is always proven innocent thanks to his magic in balancing the books. It means that he helps businesses evade tax, pocket more money, and also siphon some for himself while on the job.
Sung Ryong’s goal was to save enough money to emigrate to Denmark. However, the mobster’s right-hand man stirs up trouble for him by saying that Su Ryong was more powerful than the mob boss himself. This did not sit well with the boss, so he decided to get rid of him. When Su Ryong realized that something’s not right anymore, he secretly applied for the position of the chief of the Business Operations Department in a big corporate conglomerate in Seoul.
When the bad guys came for him, Su Ryong was smart enough to save the books for evidence against the mobster boss. While there was a struggle, with some kidnapping involved, Su Ryong was able to wiggle his way out of it.
While in the corporate world, Ryu Song thought he could still play his old tricks, but he finds himself embroiled in a huge company crisis that involved a cover-up for attempted murder, money siphoning, and power struggle.
In this drama, Namkoong Min transforms into an aspiring judo athlete, troublemaker named Han Moo Young. He had the misfortune of witnessing the murder of his brother who is a reporter investigating a major corruption scandal. This was a turning point in his life, and he takes it upon himself to finish what his brother started. He becomes a self-proclaimed media jackal who writes any story—fact or fiction—just so he could reel in some attention.
To avenge his brother’s death, he sets his sights on finding a man with a tattoo. He teams up with Lee Seok Min (Yoo Jun Sang) and Prosecutor Kwon So Ra (Uhm Ji Won) to bring to light the truths that have been falsified. But, as he worked to uncover the corruption that lies behind the facade of a well-functioning society, the ugly truth comes out of obscurity.
The Undateables (2018)
This romantic comedy centers around Kang Hoon Nam (Namkoong Min), who seems to be pretty well-versed in the theoretical aspects of love, but he rejects falling in love, and Yoo Jung Eum (Hwang Jung Eum), a woman who dreams of finding love; but gives up on it.
Kang Hoon Nam runs a toy gallery and is also a ghostwriter for a popular magazine who gives out advice to men on how to communicate better with women. He hails from a family of wealth and prominence, but he considers himself “the product of two people’s mistakes.” This probably explains his pessimistic view on love.
Meanwhile, Jung Eum is in danger of losing her job at a match-making agency if she fails to find suitable partners for certain difficult clients. Desperate for a solution, she turns to relationship expert Kang Hoon Nam for help. The two team up to help a wealthy heiress, an unrefined stuntman, a workaholic businessman, and a chocolatier with facial blindness find the love of their life.
While on the search to find love for others, will they also find the love they deserve? Can something blossom from the unlikely pairing between a love cynic and a hopeless romantic?
Doctor Prisoner (2019)
This is a story about revenge, where a highly skilled and intelligent doctor, Na Yi Je (Namkoong Min) was forced to quit his job in the hospital after being accused of medical malpractice. However, this was not due to any negligence on his part, as it only stemmed from hospital politics when the board director stirred some trouble.
This was not reason enough for Yi Je to give up because he later became a certified medical internist. He applied to work at a prison, where he plots to cozy up to all the bigshots behind bars—business tycoons, celebrities, and famous athletes who ended up in the slammer for doing drugs and guilty of gambling. He aims to win them as allies, with the ultimate goal of getting revenge against the hospital that axed him. His next order of business was to get rid of the current prison chief doctor and then take his spot.
As Ye Ji’s backstory is revealed, we see him as the typically altruistic and morally upright physician, until a turning point led to a dramatic shift in his outlook in life. In his case, it happened when one of his patients – a poor mute family – died from a car accident caused by a remorseless rich man Lee Jae Hwan (Park Eun Suk), who actually walked away scot-free.
The guilt of not being able to save his patients and subsequently being used as the scapegoat by the higher-ups that fuelled his desire for vengeance.
Hot Stove League (2019)
This is Namkoong Min’s most recent project, which raked in a high viewership rating throughout its run. It received critical acclaim and even won Best Drama at the 56th Baeksang Arts Awards.
This story starts with Baek Seung Soo (Nam Goong Min), who became the new general manager of the Dreams, a pro-league baseball team—with his ability to reform sports teams and lead them to championships. However, he also has the reputation of having those teams disbanded after winning a trophy.
Just like how Jerry Krausse was with the Chicago Bulls. Seung Soo’s appointment was not without an underlying motive behind it. He was actually hired by Kwon Kyeong Min (Oh Jung Se), the acting owner of the ballclub, with plans of dissolving the team.
Unfortunately, the team stands at the bottom rankings for the last four years, despite the player’s potential. Taking over a team with such low morale, Baek Seung Soo had to face a lot of hostility. However, the cold shoulder, criticisms, and obvious resentments did nothing to dissuade the new GM, rather it triggered him to prove himself.
With the help of operations manager, Lee Se Young (Park Eun Bin) and staff Han Jae Hee (Jo Byeong Gyu), they strived to build up the team. But things don’t just go that easy. Sly and sneaky Kwon Kyeong Min does everything to stand in Seung Soo’s way and make sure he fails. After the constant friction between them, they both realized that they are actually good at what they do. In the end, their actions helped the team and the experience left life-long lessons for them too.
Which of these stories do you find interesting enough to binge on? Share this with a friend, and enjoy that signature Namkoong Min talent in these stories!