Lee Seung Gi is one of those Hallyu superstars who is considered a triple threat entertainer. He sings, he acts, and he hosts, all of which shows his impeccable delivery which explains why he remains to be a favorite even to this day. While he had numerous hit songs under his belt, he also starred in several well-received series. Here’s a peek at seven K-dramas he top-billed over the years.
1. Brilliant Legacy (2009)
Also known as Shining Inheritance, Brilliant Legacy tells the story of Go Eun Sung (Han Hyo Joo), a young girl who lost everything when tragedy struck her father. When her dad was reported dead, her stepmother, Baek Sung Hee (Kim Mi Sook) and stepsister, Yoo Seung Mi (Moon Chae Won) took all inheritance for themselves leaving Eun Sung and her autistic brother Eun Woo (Yun Joon Suk) with nothing. Despite that, she hustled hard to support themselves, until she came across another problem – her brother went missing.
One day, Eun Sung meets an older woman named Jang Sook Ja (Ban Hyo Jung) who she ends up helping after she develops amnesia. It turns out that this woman was actually the wealthy CEO of a food company. Her kindness to the old woman yielded good fortune because upon regaining her memory, she invites Eun Sung to live in her mansion with her family.
Unfortunately, Sook Ja’s spoiled family was not too thrilled to have a stranger come into their home. Particularly irked by this arrangement is Sook Ja’s grandson, Sunwoo Hwan (Lee Seung Gi). Bad comes to worse for Sook Ja’s biological heirs when she appointed Eun Seung to inherit her company if she could raise the profits of their struggling second branch by 20%.
Although Lee Seung Gi officially debuted in the 2006 drama, The Infamous Chil Sisters, Brilliant Legacy landed him his first male lead role. The series was a huge hit during its run in 2009 that it helped boost Seung Gi’s popularity as an actor. For this role, he received the “Top 10 Stars” award, “Excellence in Acting” award, and the “Best Couple” award with Han Hyo Joo at the 2009 SBS Drama Awards.
2. My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (2010)
Cha Dae Woong (Lee Seung Gi) is a carefree student who dreams of becoming a famous action star, much to his rich grandfather’s chagrin. One day, he accidentally releases a Gumiho (Shin Min-A), a legendary nine-tailed fox who was trapped in a painting for 500 years. According to stories, Gumihos are voracious carnivores who feed on human organs. Knowing this made Dae Woong scared out of his wits, which is why he ran out of fright. But his botched escape left him severely injured, but the Gumiho – who took the form of a beautiful woman – saves him by throwing him her fox bead.
Taking advantage of Dae Woong’s fear, the Gumiho stuck by his side. Without much of a choice, he just tried to live with her presence and named her Mi Ho. Since Mi Ho wants nothing more than to become human, the two strike a deal. She lends him her mystical fox bead to help Dae Woong improve his performance in doing difficult stunts and in exchange, he’ll help her become human. Over time, as they got to know each other, their mutual relationship grew deeper.
But then comes Park Dong Joo (No Min Woo), a half-human and half-supernatural being who disguises himself as a veterinarian. Dong Joo tells Mi Ho that drinking his blood can transform her into a human and that her magical bead must be kept inside a human body for a hundred days. He tells her that this process will eliminate her gumiho energy and retrieving her bead will finally seal the deal. Mi Ho complies and Dae Woong accepts her bead. But little did they know that Don Joo made it a point not to tell them that Dae Woong will die if Mi Ho transforms and that she will also die if the bead isn’t returned.
This show had a lot of fans screaming daebak, as the story evolved with excellent character development. While certain style elements of this drama may seem dated by today’s standards, the story about longing what you can’t have remains timeless. It was also another impressive performance by Seung Gi in which he bagged his second “Excellence in Acting” award at the 2010 SBS Drama Awards.
3. The King 2 Hearts (2012)
This 2012 black comedy and melodrama tell the story of a South Korean prince and a North Korean special force agent. It is set against a background of an alternate reality where modern-day South Korea was governed by a constitutional monarchy that descended from the Joseon Dynasty.
Lee Jae Ha (Lee Seung Gi) is a handsome prince with no political interest and is staunchly reluctant to be the second in line to the throne. While Jae Ha was in training, the current King, Lee Jae Kang (Lee Sung Min), worked on a plan to make peace with the North. He tricks Jae Ha into enlisting a joint military collaboration with North Korea. He does this with hopes of transforming his carefree little brother into someone who can be sufficiently responsible as a member of the Royal Family.
On the other side of the border, Kim Hang Ah works as a North Korean Special Forces officer who is also the daughter of a high-ranking official. On the outside, Hang Ah appears tough and fearsome, but she is actually a softy inside who also struggles to find a companion in life. Hang Ah met Jae Ha at the joint military training. They started on the wrong foot and were initially antagonistic towards each other, but over time, the two developed a friendship which turned into love. The two then had an arranged marriage. It was an unconventional arrangement which was only a prelude to a series of challenges which they gradually worked through.
However, tragedy struck when King Jae Kang and his wife were assassinated by a notorious terrorist group. The man behind it all is an arms dealer who goes by the name “John Mayer.” He is a magician by day and a mastermind assassin by night with an obsession to destroy the royal family. As Jae Ha steps up to be the new king, he now bears the heavy burden of protecting the country.
Lee Seung Gi makes hearts flutter as his character annoys Hang Ah, only to fall in love with her. He also seamlessly transforms from being a spoiled young man to being an astute leader.
4. Gu Family Book (2013)
In this action drama, the table turns as Lee Seung Gi becomes Choi Kang Chi, a half-gumiho and half-human. Kang Chin is the son of Gu Wol Ryung, a gumiho who is also a guardian spirit of Jiri Mountain and Yoon Seo Hwa, an ordinary human. Both his parents met a tragic fate due to the evil Jo Gwan Woong (Lee Sung Jae), which left Kang Chi under the care of nobleman Park Mu Sol (Um Hyo Sup). He grows up to be an outspoken young man who is full of curiosity.
History seems to have repeated itself when Kang Chi crossed paths with Gwan Woong. It was here when he realizes that he is actually half-human-half-beast. His struggles led him to meet Dam Yeo Wool (Bae Suzy).
Yeo Wool is a martial arts instructor who was once saved by Kang Chi when she was young She then falls in love with him when they meet again, and accepts him for who he truly is, despite being half a creature that is feared by people.
This drama offers a captivating story that is riddled with many shocking twists and turns. There is pathos, betrayal, love, humor, forgiveness, justice, and even a nifty surprise at the end. It satisfies k-drama fans who love multiple genres rolled into one. With a compelling performance that showcases Seung Gi versatility as an actor, this sageuk is definitely a must-watch.
5. You’re All Surrounded (2014)
Eun Dae Gu (Lee Seung Gi) witnessed the murder of his mother at a young age. He holds Detective Seo Pan Seok (Cha Seung Won) responsible for it, and after so many years, he worked under the same detective he holds a grudge against.
Together with other rookie detectives, Eo Soo Sun (Go Ara), Park Tae Il (Ahn Jae Hyeon), and Ji Gook (Park Jung Min), Dae Gu worked at the Gangnam Police Station under Team #3. All four of them joined this profession for some reason or the other, but Dae Gu is the one who seems to be harboring secrets. He used his profession to spy on his team leader, Pan Seok. whom he believed conspired with his mother’s murder case. As he unravels the truth behind the incident which occurred more than a decade ago, he also learns about his past.
Besides the engaging main plot, the rookies also went on to solve other interesting cases that should give you a few shocking moments. This should interest anybody with a penchant for mystery and suspense. Watch Seung Gi as he builds good chemistry with the entire cast. You get to see him in his element in this action-meets-comedy drama wrapped in romantic scenes, suspense, and a dash of drama.
6. A Korean Odyssey (2017)
As a comeback project after enlistment, Lee Seung Gi plays an exiled powerful immortal named Son Oh Gong.
This fantasy series centres around a young girl named Jin Seon Mi (Oh Yeon Seo), who has the ability to see ghosts and spirits. As she is constantly hounded by ghosts because they want to feed on her powers, Seon Mi finds protection from her grandmother and a small yellow umbrella that bears the spells written by a Buddhist monk. One day she comes across Ma Wang (Cha Seung Won) who saved her from a harmful ghost. To repay him, she has to retrieve a certain fan from a magical house. However, trapped inside this house, as a punishment for his crimes, is Son Oh Gong (Lee Seung Gi) – the Monkey King. Oh Gong strikes a deal with Seon Mi that he will protect her for life, only if she helps him get free. The unsuspecting Seon Mi did her part, only to be double-crossed by Oh Gong. He steals the memory of his name from her head and makes a run for it.
The two meet again years later with Seon Mi now an adult with a thriving business in flipping houses. She confronted him for what he did, and Oh Gong, who was desperate to earn back his immortal status, found that this was his chance to do a good deed. But then Oh Gong learned that a gifted Samjang has been born, and anyone who eats its flesh will gain immortality. Little did he know that the samjang in question was no other than Seon Mi. Acting on his plans meant that he would be going against his promise he made to her as a child, and that is to protect her.
Will he act on this need when he has already caught feelings for Seon Mi? Or are these feelings really what it seemed?
While his character started out to be quite unlikeable, it’s not hard to get sucked into the way Seung Gi’s character evolved. Fans get to see him in heroic feats as he stands to be Seon Mi’s savior. It’s a perfect choice for those who love fantasy dramas with a heaping dose of the nation’s umchina. Enjoy Seung Gi’s performance in all 20 episodes of this captivating romantic drama between a hunter and its prey.
7. Vagabond (2019)
When a plane flying from Korea to Morocco mysteriously crashes, everyone believed that it stemmed from a technical malfunction. But, Cha Dal Gun (Lee Seung Gi) discovered that there was more to the crash that the public was led to believe. This was personal for him because his nephew, Cha Hoon (Moon Woo Jin), was one of the victims.
It turns out that the tragedy was caused by a ring of terrorists and governmental conspiracies. Upon landing in Morocco, he is on the heels of a man he suspects to be the terrorist behind the plane crash. Determined to get to the bottom of this, he teams up with the National Intelligence Service (NIS) rookie agent, Go Hae Ri (Bae Suzy), who was initially skeptical about Dal Gun’s theory.
It was not long until the two found themselves sucked into a conspiracy that goes all the way to the Blue House. It turned out that the plane crash involved two military contractors viciously competing to win a deal to provide the government with new-generation fighter jets.
Overall, Vagabond is a real nail-biter. It has great stunt sequences, especially in the early episodes where fans get to witness Seung Gi chasing down the villain through the streets and rooftops of Tangier, Morocco. Episodes keep you on the edge as Dal Gun and the NIS agents sacrifice life and limb to bring the truth to light.
Choosing a Lee Seung Gi drama will give you an entertaining time if you wish to Netflix-and-thrill! Where do you plan to start on this list?