Called “the queen of dramas,” Lee Bo-young’s acting success is reflected in the many Best Actress awards and nominations she earned throughout her career. Aside from an illustrious career, her private life also attracts a lot of attention having married another popular actor, Ji-sung.
If you’re interested to watch her body of work, take a pick from these 9 K-dramas!
In Mine, Lee Bo-young plays Seo Hee-soo, a former actress who is married to the younger son of a wealthy family. Her character is a breath of fresh air in a family that seems to be wrapped up in so much tension and competitiveness more than love. She takes the rest of the family members’ antics all in stride until a sudden twist of fate made her realize that she was living in a glamorous kind of hell.
Fortunately for Hee-soo, she has Jung Seo-hyun (Kim Seo-hyung), by her side to help her cope with all the madness. Seo-hyun is the wife of the eldest son of the family and she is the only person who understands Hee-soo more than anyone in the family.
“Mine” is written by Baek Mi-kyung, the screenwriter behind hit drama series including “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon,” “The Lady in Dignity,” and “Miracle that We Met.” With two veteran actresses at the helm, this tvN drama has earned quite the anticipation that did not disappoint. On top of Bo-young’s impressive performance, her transformation was also part of the entertainment as she shows sophisticated fashion in every episode!
Mother is a 16-part tvN drama that tells the story of a junior school teacher, Kang Soo-jin (Lee Bo Young), who finds out that one of her students is being abused by her mother. The child’s unkempt appearance, strange mannerisms, and bruises were the red flags that led Soo-jin to act on impulse. Distraught and worried about the child’s well-being in her own home, she decides to run away with her and stand as her new mother. Now that she brought herself into this situation, the question is, how far is she still willing to go to save the poor little girl.
In an interview, Bo-young shared that she chose to accept the project after she had her child. This hit close to home for her after several reports of child abuse caught her attentiion. This personal cause led Bo-young to nab the Best Actress Award at the Seoul International Drama Awards, an event that honours television productions from around the world.
In this 2017 legal drama, Lee Bo-young suits up to play Detective Shin Young-joo. She is a section chief at the Jongno Police Station who likes to spend most of her time trying to catch petty criminals. She acts tough at work but she’s a different person at home. She looks after her family and took it upon herself to pay back the debt his father owed after he was framed for murder by the head of the powerful Taebaek law firm, who tried to cover up his own illegal transactions.
The case on Bo-young’s father is brought before Judge Lee Dong-joon (Lee Sang-yoon), who comes from an elite family and has a strong sense of social justice. However, pressured by the tangled relationship between his family and Taebek, he caves in and finds Young-joo’s father guilty. Young-jo lost her job while Dong-joon started working as a lawyer at Taebek.
Driven to seek revenge, Young-joo approaches a drunk Dong-joon at a nightclub and takes him to bed to blackmail him with sexual assault. She then begins working as his secretary at Taebaek with the plan to seek justice for her father through any means possible. The two end up working together to solve a case of corruption, involving Taebek which turns out to be one of the biggest scandals in the country.
Bo-young did a stellar performance as the harangued Detective Shin Young-jo that she even bagged the 2017 Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Monday–Tuesday Drama at the SBS Drama Awards.
God’s Gift: 14 Days (2014)
In this time travel drama, Lee Bo-young becomes Kim Soo-hyun, a successful TV writer for a current affairs program. Her daughter gets kidnapped and murdered.
Later Soo-hyun discovers a miraculous ability to go back in time, which is exactly two weeks before the kidnapping. She sees this as an opportunity to bring her dead child back to life. Soo-hyun is also determined to expose the kidnapping plot while trying to spare her daughter from her unfortunate fate. Helping her is Ki Dong-chan (Cho Seung-woo), a former police officer turned private investigator. Dong-chan is also out to avenge his mentally challenged brother who was wrongly accused of murdering Dong-chan’s ex-girlfriend.
I Can Hear Your Voice (2013)
In another legal drama, Lee Bo-young plays a brazen and sharp-tongued public defender. She had a troubled past which made her pragmatic and self-preserving, but also jaded. But her life takes a turn when she crosses paths with Park Soo-ha (Lee Joong-suk), a high school senior with the supernatural ability to read people’s thoughts just by looking into their eyes.
Soo-ha gained his mind-reading ability after he witnessed his father’s murder ten years earlier. It was initially dismissed as an accident until Hye-sung, who was a high school student then, gave a poignant testimonial in court despite the killer’s threats. Since then, Soo-ha has been searching for her because he also nursed a crush on her.
When they finally meet again, Soo-ha realized that the person he has been pining for all these years turned out to be different from what he remembered. However, despite that, the two came together to solve cases as Soo-ha’s ability always came in handy.
This drama showed viewers a noona romance (older woman-younger man), which may seem cringey for some, but the two actors played it so well. The romance that blossomed between them throughout the episodes was sweet and beautiful.
This drama was originally set to have 16 episodes, but due to excellent ratings, it was extended for two more.
Seoyoung, My Daughter (2012)
Lee Bo-young plays the titular role, Seoyoung in this 2012 Romance Family-Drama. She is poor and smart which are characteristics that helped her through the trials she had to face in this 50-episode story.
Seoyoung had a happy family until her father, Lee Sam Jae (Chun Ho-jin ) got laid off. This was followed by a failed attempt at starting a business followed by a downward spiral that involved gambling. Soon enough, the father and daughter grew distant.
Without any money to pay for school, Seoyoung had no choice but to give up her dream of becoming a doctor. She prepares to take the bar, while her twin brother, Sang-woo (Park Hae-jin) gets into medical school. He tried to bridge the Seoyoung’s and their father’s strained relationship. However, Seoyoung still harbors resentment against her father. Will they be able to mend this relationship?
This drama may be quite long, hence it can be quite a commitment if you wish to follow the series. However, it gives audiences a beautiful story of forgiveness and healing. Bo-young delivered a compelling performance that got her nominated for the Excellence Award for an Actress in a Serial Drama in the 2012 KBS Drama Awards. Her chemistry with Lee Sang-yoon earned them the Best Couple Award in the same awards show.
Man from the Equator (2012)
Lee Bo-young gets caught in between a steaming rivalry between two former friends in Man from the Equator.
The story starts with Jang-il (Siwan) and Sun-woo (Lee Hyun-woo), two young boys who turned out to become unlikely buddies in high school. Their fathers have ties to a powerful businessman who ordered Jang-il’s father to kill Sun-woo’s father. This request not only led to one disaster, but the attack also left Sun-woo blind and in a coma.
More than a decade later, the two friends meet again as adults. Jang-il (Lee Joon-hyuk) is now a prosecutor, while Sun-woo (Uhm Tae-woong) becomes a young CEO of an investment trust company. Despite what he already achieved in his life, Sun-woo still harbors hatred for what happened to him and is plotting his revenge. Fate soon brought him to cross paths with Jang-il again through the woman they love – Ji-won (Lee Bo-young) and Soo-mi (Im Jung-eun).
Man From The Equator is an interesting ride for audiences. From the get-go, it can get people gripping at the edge of their seats. Every episode has surprises that will suck you deeper into the plot. Bo-young delivered a compelling performance that earned her an Excellence Award for an Actress in a Mid-length Drama at the 2012 KBS Drama Awards.
Bravo, My Love! (2011)
Lee Bo-young turns into Kang Jae-mi, the daughter of divorced parents. Her father Kang Hyung-do (Chun Ho-jin) cheated on her mother Oh Jung-hee (Bae Jong-ok), a betrayal that ended in divorce. He is now married to a much younger woman, Byun Joo-ri, but still has lingering feelings for his ex-wife.
Her dad’s infidelity scarred Jae-mi that she’s skittish of smart and talented men like her father. Unfortunately, she ended up marrying someone who was obviously lacking. As much as she wanted to avoid having the same fate as her parents, she got tricked into signing divorce papers by her husband. He orchestrated a complicated plan to bring Jae-mi to a tropical island with an intent to break up their marriage.
Not willing to throw in the towel on their marriage, Jung-soo hired a lawyer to invalidate their divorce. She goes for the smart and sharp Byun Dong-woo, whom she met on the vacation booked by her ex. They started out on the wrong foot as Jae-mi seemed to be a handful for Dong-woo. But it did not take long for him to fall for her. But Jae-mi is not yet ready to jump into a relationship again, especially when Dong-woo came with a playboy past.
Bo-young did a remarkable job playing Jae-mi that she bagged the Excellence Award as an Actress in a Miniseries in the 2011 MBC Drama Awards.
Ballad of Seodong (2005)
Just like Romeo and Juliet, the Ballad of Seodong is also about two star-crossed lovers namde Seodong (Jo Hyun-jae) and Seon Hwa (Lee Bo-young ). The period drama is based on Seodong-yo, which is said to be one of Korea’s oldest folk songs and its first hyangga (poems written using Chinese characters).
Princess Seon Hwa from the kingdom of Silla and Seodong, also known as the future King Mu of Baekje, fall in love. It was such a twisted tale because they are both prominent figures from rival kingdoms. It is a classic tale set in Shakespearean lore that is immortalized in “The Ballad of Seo Dong”, which is an old Korean folk song that spread quickly through the palace and the country during the Silla period.
The plot thickens because Seodong also carries a secret that could alter the fate of the Baekje kingdom. Meanwhile, his rival Sataek Giru (Ryu Jin) plots with Buyeo Seon (Kim Young-ho) to disrupt Seodong’s plans.
This role put Lee Bo-young’s name on the map. She bagged the New Star Award in the 2005 SBS Drama Awards.