K-dramas have some of the most reviled villains on TV. But it’s interesting to see when actors, who are often tagged in leading roles, play the bad guy. See if your favorite oppa made the list!
Yoo Seung Ho – Missing You (2012)
For the 2012 romance-thriller, Missing You, the “Prince Charming of K-Drama ” transformed into a vengeful psychopath named Kang Hyung-joon who has an insatiable thirst for blood.
Seung-ho is more known for his work in Arang and the Magistrate and I Am Not a Robot which cemented his status as one of the K-dramas heartthrobs.
This drama is a story of a teenage couple who separated, only to meet again as adults. Han Jung Woo (Park Yoo Chun) has been a homicide detective for 2 years and he is looking for his childhood love. Lee So Yeon (Yoon Eun Hye) is a fashion designer and often dreams of Han Jung Woo searching for her.
In Missing You, his character is a charismatic fund manager with psychopathic tendencies brought on by his traumatic past. This led him to harbor so much hate towards his best friend, Han Jung Woo because of the sins of his family towards him. He became so cunning and dangerous, but he eventually landed behind bars.
However, an accident caught up with him first where he ended up losing his intelligence and reverted to that of a five-year-old. All the interesting turn of events and what is required from Yoo Sueng Ho’s character truly showcased his talent. It’s a revelation that this oppa is more than just a pretty face.
Kim Jae Wook, Voice (2017)
Kim Jae Wok is best known for his role in the hit series, Coffee Prince. But for the 2017 series, Voice, he brought a fatal charm to the role of Mo Tae-goo. He is a powerful CEO of Sungwun Express who has a God complex, which Jae-wook pulled off through a chilling performance.
His success belies the fact that he’s a cruel psychopath. He was like that because he saw his father kill someone right in front of him. He harbored this lust to kill someone. He was so intent on his criminal activities that he even got his own villa as his personal place to kill people. His father wouldn’t do anything about his psychopathic tendencies, because he knew that, deep down, it was caused by his actions in the past. Instead, he would do anything to keep his son safe. Eventually, Mo Tae-goo ended up in a psychiatric hospital and he was killed by another patient there.
Jae-wook admitted that this role took a toll on him psychologically. However, his delivery only amazed fans at how versatile he was playing such a challenging character with ease. If you’ve watched him in dreamier roles, it’s hard to even reconcile that image to the cold-blooded murderer he portrays in this series. Since this stint as a villain, Jae-wook shared that he prefers to skip such roles for now.
Lee Dong Wook, Strangers from Hell (2019)
Anybody who has seen Goblin and Touch My Heart, would find it hard to come to terms with the idea of Lee Dong-wook’s enigmatic charms being turned into one of the scariest villains in K-drama history.
Strangers From Hell (a.k.a Hell Is Other People) is a webtoon-based horror series. It’s a story of a country boy who gets a small job in Seoul. He moves into a cheap apartment with a common bathroom and kitchen. However, he becomes wary of his neighbors who seem very suspicious and strange.
In this drama, Dong-wook played a dentist named Seo Moon-jo who is one of the tenants in the eerie apartment. Moon-jo comes across as this friendly and compassionate dentist. But behind the mild demeanor, he also gave off this strange vibe, which Dong-wook played pretty well. It was completely different from other roles he had, which many find a bit unsettling at first. When his character is finally established, you’ll either grow to love his talent even more or look at him in a different light.
Ok Taecyeon, Vincenzo (2021)
2PM singer-actor Taecyeon was recognized as one of the most handsome faces in Asia. However, he made a total transformation as he played the main antagonist, Jang Han-seok, in the 2021 black comedy series, Vincenzo.
Taecyeon was introduced in the drama as this awkward legal intern, only to find out that he’s a character who stands at the center of looming evil. He plans to dominate the Republic of Korea by creating an unbeatable cartel that cuts across the political world, the media, and the prosecution. He’s a sociopath who has no sense of humanity and strongly believes that the means justify the end.
As an unpredictable villain, he was one of the biggest twists to this drama which makes him eerier than your usual run-of-the-mill K-Drama villain. Vincenzo showed us a new side to Taecyeon—a far cry from his lead roles in dramas like Dream High, Who Are You, Bring It On Ghost, Save Me. and The Game: Towards Zero.
Park Hae Jin, Bad Guys (2014)
Park Hae Jin has always been known to play tsundere type of characters in his projects like Cheese in the Trap, Dr. Stranger, My Love from the Star and Man to Man. However, he was able to impress everyone, even more, when he played Lee Jung Moon in OCN’s Bad Guys.
This drama is Korea’s version of the Suicide Squad. It all started when Detective Oh Gu-tak was willing to use any means necessary to catch criminals. He comes up with this unconventional plan of forming a team that consists of criminals to work down on cases and chase other criminals. With the increasing number of crimes in the district, police inspector Yoo Mi-young decides to sign off on the arrangement. Later, Detective Oh releases three convicts from jail to include in his team: Lee Jung-moon, Park Woong-cheol, and Jung Tae-soo. Together, they form a team called Team Crazy Dogs to solve a case that ordinary police can’t solve.
Park Hae Jin portrayed the role of an evil genius, psychopath serial killer named Lee Jung moon. He is the youngest member of Mensa with a tremendous IQ of 165, who also has a Ph.D. in math and philosophy. He seems like your average guy, but he’s actually masking a cold and calculating alter-ego underneath. With a quiet and calculating personality, you can feel the chills when you look into his blank stare. Not only scary but there are also moments where you will find him sympathetic.
But as the story progresses, you can also see where he fell through the cracks as he also gets manipulated. His impressive performance for this drama made him bag an award at the 2015 Korea Drama Awards.
Nam Goong Min, The Girl Who Can See Smells (2015)
Nam Goong Min doesn’t shy from playing the bad guy and he has proven that he can do it well! K-drama fans who are familiar with his work like Beautiful Gong Shim, the Good Manager, Doctor Prisoner, and Falsify can attest to his charisma on screen.
He can bring to life characters that you would love to root for. He is known for his huge smiles and warm voice, so it’s a real surprise to see him use it to play the two-faced character, Chef Kwon Jae Hee in The Girl Who Can See Smells.
This 2015 drama is a story of a man with no senses who lost his sister 3 years ago in the Barcode Murders and a woman with supersensory abilities who was in the same incident yet survived with memory loss.
Goong-min plays the psycho killer who keeps his prey in a sub-basement prison while he feeds on their pain. He takes his victim and puts them in a plain white room and makes them write down their life stories in a book, while also constantly monitoring them. He just took interest in learning about people’s lives. He was a psychopathic control freak, who couldn’t remember his own backstory, so turned to others out of curiosity.
He is called the ‘Barcode Murderer’ because after he kills his victims, he cuts a barcode onto the wrist of each of them. He is a chef, but he has Prosopagnosia (the inability to recognize faces). Carving barcodes on their wrist was his way of recognizing his victims since he couldn’t remember their faces. He used the barcodes on their wrists along with the barcode on the book to identify which victim it was.
Park Bo Gum, Hello Monster (2015)
Park Bo Gum is one of the most recognizable stars today. Besides his good looks, his talent was also just as impressive. He even gained recognition for his diverse range in film and TV.
Hello Monster is about a criminal named Lee Joon Young (Choi Won-young) who escapes from prison. He murders a police inspector and separates the dead inspector’s 2 sons Lee Hyun (Seo In-guk) and Lee Min (Park Bo-gum), whom he takes with him.
Two decades pass and Lee Min, who is now Jung Sun-ho, a successful Lawyer meets his brother Lee Joon Young, who now goes by the name David Lee. Unfortunately, David Lee fails to recognize his long-lost younger brother who has turned into a psychopathic murderer.
Sun-ho uses his angelic good looks to hide his secret. He even baited his brother with clues to his murders. His eerie smile also reveals the pain of being abandoned that you can almost feel bad for this criminal.
Bo-gum is a real sweetheart on screen especially if you enjoyed Love in the Moonlight, Encounter, and Reply 1988. But this is also an interesting new side to him which is also just as entertaining to watch!