Korean drama does not shy away from mature content and revenge stories despite being widely known for their sweet, demure, and butterflies-in-your-tummy romances. There’s nothing more intriguing than underdogs getting back at villains who wronged them. That being said, here are the best revenge series in KDrama history that will surely keep you gripping the edge of your seats and maybe even shouting at your screens.
Release Date: October 28, 2013 – April 29, 2014
Main Cast: Ha Ji Won as Empress Ki Yang / Ki Seung Nyang; Ji Chang Wook as Emperor Toghon Temur / Ta Hwan; Joo Jin Mo as King Wang Yoo; Baek Jin Hee as Tanashili
Showcasing the rich culture of both historical eras in Korea and China, this series is filled with so much drama, action, love, and you know it sweet, sweet revenge. The story circles around Ki Seung Nyang from Goryeo (old name for Korea) and her rise to power as the Empress of the Yuan Dynasty. But rising to the top rank of the monarchy did not come free. Empress Ki had her eyes set on revenge since the first moment she stepped on the grounds of the Yuan Palace. Who could blame her? She learned from the best. This series gives me Mulan feels with a dark spin-off and you have to watch this to find out why.
“Surviving. Enduring. Grinding those who did this to us under our feet. That is true revenge.” –Lady Park Eo Jin
Release Date: April 5 – July 27, 2014
Main Cast: Lee Dong Wook as Cha Jae Wan / Hyun Woo; Lee Da Hae as Ah Mo Ne; Im Seul Ong as Sun Woo Hyun; Wang Ji Hye as Song Chae Kyung; Lee Deok Hwa as Lee Joong Goo; Kim Hae Sook as Baek Mi Nyeo
When the sole heiress of Korea’s only esteemed 7-star hotel rose to take over after her father’s death, she meets the manager whose fate is entangled with hers as they unravel the truth behind the deceased chairman’s death and the secrets that loomed around them. Will the handsome manager still help the heiress and protect her despite his plan to avenge his mother after his father left them? Will he be able to keep his feelings in check when he finds out the truth? But more importantly, is love better than revenge?
Release Date: March 20 –; May 15, 2019
Episodes: 32 (Season 1)
Main Cast: Namgoong Min as Na Yi Je; Kwon Na Ra as Han So Geum; Kim Byung Chul as Sun Min Shik; Choi Won Young as Lee Jae Joon; Lee Da In as Lee Jae In; Jin Hee Kyung as Mo Yi Ra
When a very talented doctor whose heart is dedicated to help patients and devoted his life to his work gets ousted from the very hospital where he was working and his medical license suspended due to a medical malpractice case brought about by the ruckus from the medical board, he crosses to another path and gets certified as an internist to work in a prison where famous and powerful people gets detained. He has his plan to make them his ally in bringing down the hospital that wronged him. But before he does that, he must get rid of the current prison chief doctor and claim the position for himself.
Release Date: 25 May –; 28 July 2011
Lee Min Ho as Lee Yoon Sung; Park Min Young as Kim Na Na; Lee Joon Hyuk as Prosecutor Kim Young; Kim Sang Joong as Lee Jin Pyo / Steve Le; Hwang Sun Hee as Jin Se Hee; Kim Mi Sook as Lee Kyung Hee
After the Rangoon Bombing in Burma orchestrated by North Korea killed off several high-ranking officials from South Korea who were there for a visit along with their president, South Korea retaliated by organizing a secret mission manned by South Korea’s finest agents with the plan to wreak havoc in Pyongyang. However the mission was aborted while the team was still in North Korean territory which led to the death of one agent named Park Moo Yeol when he saved his best friend Lee Jin Pyo while they were trying to escape. Years pass and Lee Jin Pyo takes Park Moo Yeol’s son to train him in order to fulfill his plan to avenge his friend’s death and kill all the corrupt officials who betrayed them. But what happens when the son who was brought up to kill meets someone who’ll help him avenge his father’s death without killing anyone?
Release Date: Jan 31, 2020 – Mar 21, 2020
Park Seo Joon as Park Sae Ro Yi; Kim Da Mi as Jo Yi Seo; Kwon Na Ra as Oh Soo Ah; Yoo Jae Myung as Jang Dae Hee
When a high schooler punched his rich classmate – the son of the company Jangga’s CEO– a series of tormenting events fell upon him and his family. His father gets fired from the company where he was working, which was owned by the family of his rich classmate, while he himself gets expelled. Not soon after, his father gets killed in an accident caused by his rich former classmate. This pushed him to get back at his classmate. After beating up his classmate he got arrested and thrown into prison. Now that years have passed and he’s finally free, he opens up a restaurant and vows to destroy Jangga Group. He will meet people in the unlikeliest places who will help him fulfill his goals in his quest to exact his revenge.
Release Date: Feb 20, 2021 – May 2, 2021
Main Cast: Song Joong Ki as Vincenzo Cassano; Jeon Yeo Bin as Hong Cha Young; Kim Yeo Jin as Choi Myung Hee; Jo Han Chul as Han Seung Hyuk; Kwak Dong Yeon as Jang Han Seo
A Korean Mafia attorney returns to his motherland to retrieve a treasure. But when he arrives at the place where he hid it, he got himself tangled up with the fight for the building between the tenants of Geumga Plaza and the evil Babel Group of companies. As his enemy changes, he teams up with the stubborn and feisty lawyer, Hong Cha Young, whose father was killed while protecting the rights of the Geumga Plaza tenants against Babel. As the consigliere’s heart softens for the tenants, he helps Hong Cha Young bring down Babel Group the mafia way. The question is which will he deem important in the end? Would it be his treasure or his newly-found family?
The Innocent Man
Release Date: Sep 12, 2012 – Nov 15, 2012
Main Cast: Moon Chae Won as Seo Eun Ki; Song Joong Ki as Kang Ma Roo; Park Shi Yeon as Han Jae Hee; Yang Ik Jun as Han Jae Shik; Lee Yoo Bi as Kang Cho Ko; Jo Hwi Joon as Seo Eun Suk
A promising medical student covers up his girlfriend’s dark past and went to prison in her stead. When he finally gets released, he finds out that the woman whom he loved so much has already married a rich man. Feeling betrayed, he vowed to take revenge on the woman who broke his heart. He chanced upon another woman who suffered from amnesia and after finding out that she was the daughter of her former lover’s husband, he uses her to get back at the woman who betrayed him.
Release Date: Nov 12, 2014 – Jan 15, 2015
Lee Jong Suk as Choi Dal Po / Ki Ha Myung; Park Shin Hye as Choi In Ha; Kim Young Kwang as Seo Beom Jo; Lee Yoo Bi as Yoon Yoo Rae; Jin Kyung as Song Cha Ok; Lee Pil Mo as Hwang Gyo Dong
A firefighter loses his reputation and his family after being painted as a criminal by corrupt reporters when an explosion in a factory killed off several of his men during their rescue attempt. But one of his sons, Ha Myung, survived after being rescued by an old man who suffers from a memory problem mistook him as the son he lost years ago. Ha Myung loathed the reporter who pushed his family into misery and vowed to have his revenge. When the old man’s younger son along with his daughter In Ha comes back to the island after being divorced, their lives set forth to another route as Ha Myung and In Ha both became reporters. Sparks fly as the two find themselves in situations that pulled them closer together. But what if Ha Myung finds out who In Ha really is? Would love win over revenge?