Thrillers are one of the most popular genres in Kdramas, and with good reason.
The suspense, mystery, action, and sometimes romance are always top-notch in thriller Kdramas, and they really do provide a viewing experience like no other.
If you’ve been wondering which ones to get started with, don’t worry – I’ve got you covered.
Here are 15 thriller Kdramas that will keep you hooked from start to finish. If you scare easily, this might be a good time to phone your favorite watch-buddy, because some of the dramas on this list had me shook.
Here are 15 interesting thriller Kdramas that are worth watching:
Kang Ki Beom is a fearless police officer who targets Argos, a notorious crime group.
But his world soon falls apart when Argos murders his wife and takes his eyes, and he gets framed for the crime. Later, he becomes part of Rugal, a secret NIS squad with cutting-edge devices.
They implant new eyes in him that give him extraordinary skills, and with Rugal, he seeks to wipe out Argos and get justice for his wife.
Rugal is an action-packed drama based on a webtoon that will thrill you!
This incredibly thrilling Kdrama about a serial killer poses a very important question: What if we had a way to detect psychopaths before they harm anyone?
And, this question drives this suspenseful drama about hidden serial killers with psychopathic genes and relentless law enforcement agents with a vendetta.
If you live for twists like no other, then you’re going to love, love this drama. Lee Seung Gi is one of the actors I’ll walk the planet barefoot for, and you better believe he was absolutely stunning in this drama.
Ha Dong Soo is a connect – a human who can never die – whose life changes when organ hunters steal his eye, and he starts getting intermittent visions through his other eye which had been implanted in a serial killer.
If you like your thriller Kdrama with a side of sci-fi, then this is the perfect drama for you. A wild, wild pursuit ensues as he races against time to stop the killer and save his victims, and it was positively exhilarating.
This Kdrama is short enough to finish in a day, and you’re definitely going to enjoy it.
Something strange happened in a small village thirty years ago, but no one ever solved the mystery, and the villagers eventually moved on and forgot about it. However, the mystery is back, and this time, they need help.
That’s where Do Jung Woo comes in. He is a legendary cop who can crack any case, and he works with Officer Gong Hye Won, a fierce and determined officer who always gets what she wants.
They also have Jamie, an FBI detective, on their side. Together, they try to unravel the secrets of the past and the present.
The romance in this Kdrama thriller is practically non-existent, but if you’re in the mood for a final reveal that will tip everything you thought you understood about this drama on its head, then Awaken might interest you.
As a child, Hwang Shi Mok had an operation to stop his rage, and it left him without feelings.
He became a prosecutor who uses his sharp mind and logic to fight for justice, but he has no friends because he doesn’t understand them.
One day, he finds a stabbed victim while investigating some crooked people, and reluctantly teams up with Lieutenant Han Yeo Jin, a detective, to stop the corruption and hunt down a serial killer.
6. Tell Me What You Saw
Oh Hyun Jae used to catch criminals with his profiling skills, but he lost his fiancé and his career in a serial killer’s explosion. Now, he lives in isolation, hiding from the world.
Cha Soo Young is a rural cop who can remember everything she sees, and she becomes a new detective and teams up with Hyun Jae unofficially.
Together, they work on various cases and try to find the Peppermint Killer – the one who destroyed Hyun Jae’s life five years ago.
Some scenes in this addictive thriller Korean drama positively gave me chills, and I’ll forever recommend this to anyone looking for an interesting watch that will leave you with as many questions as answers.
Seo Do Won has a dark secret: his dad killed a man and died on the same day. He feels guilty and tries to make it up to Han Seo Kyung, the victim’s daughter, without telling her the truth. He works hard as a detective, while she is a prosecutor looking for her dad’s killer.
One day, he finds dead bodies in an old train station. He thinks it’s a serial murder case, but things get weird when he sights one of the supposedly dead victims out and about and Seo Kyung dies.
Shortly after this, he discovers a mysterious train that takes him to another world, where he meets another Seo Kyung – and he discovers that he’s a total degenerate in this alternate universe.
Together, they hunt down the killer across parallel universes.
Train is another amazing thriller Kdrama about alternate universes with less than 16 episodes that I honestly believe everyone should watch at least once. Aside from the brilliant male lead, the plot in this drama was simply well-thought-out, and I just know you’ll enjoy it.
8. Nobody Knows
Young Jin has a mission: to find the Stigmata murderer who took her friend’s life 19 years ago. She can’t forget the pain and trauma, and she doesn’t have any friends and lives by herself.
The only person who cares for her is Eun Ho, a kind boy from downstairs who does small tasks for her. But then, something awful happens to Eun Ho – He plunges from the roof and ends up in a coma.
Young Jin suspects someone hurt him deliberately, and she joins forces with Sun Woo, Eun Ho’s teacher, to uncover the mystery. This thriller Kdrama touched on many, many delicate issues and I honestly feel that the team (cast & crew) did the story and society justice.
When his nephew dies in a suspicious plane crash, Cha Dal Gun vows to find the truth. Having raised him alone after his brother’s death, his nephew’s death feels as though his world has crashed.
Soon enough, he discovers a huge cover-up behind the crash, and it becomes a race against time to catch the bad guys.
Go Hae Ri, the female lead, works for the NIS as a spy. She never wanted this life, but her father was a marine who died in action, and she joins Cha Dal Gun in the investigation of the crash.
While investigating. they are shocked by the corruption and conspiracy they uncover.
Vagabond is one of those thrilling Kdramas you watch once and you’ll be forever changed. The action and reveal scenes were so well-timed, and it was just so fantastic. There’s no way you won’t become a convert.
Imagine waking up one day and finding out you’re on death row. That’s what happens to Park Jung Woo, a prosecutor who wakes up in a cell and is informed he’s been given capital punishment for killing his wife.
With no memories of how he got there or what actually happened to his wife and daughter, he sets out to find out the truth before it’s too late. And, the added fact that he continues losing his memories makes it all the more difficult.
I think I’m not alone when I say Ji Sung is the ahjussi of my dreams. When he shows up, he shows out and this Kdrama is not an exception. If you’re looking for a thriller Korean drama featuring characters who take on corruption in high places, then you’re going to love Defendant.
When his wife is killed by a serial murderer, detective Moo Jin Hyuk falls into guilt and despair, and he joins forces with Kang Kwon Joo, a voice profiler who also lost her father to the same culprit.
They create a new unit based on the emergency call center and use their skills to track down the cold-blooded killer who shattered their lives.
This is another riveting Kdrama thriller about serial killers that you absolutely do not want to miss.
Gap Dong is a notorious criminal who haunted Moo Yeom’s past. Moo Yeom was a monk, but he left the temple to become a detective and catch Gap Dong.
He waited for 20 years, but Gap Dong never showed up. But now, Gap Dong is back, and Moo Yeom won’t let him go.
As far as he’s concerned, it’s time for the final showdown and he won’t be a loser the second time around.
Jirisan is a mystery drama that follows the rangers of Jirisan National Park, the first and largest park in South Korea. Seo Yi Kang is the top tracker and a lifesaver, while her partner, Kang Hyun Jo, is an ex-soldier who has visions of deaths on the mountain.
When there’s a bizarre string of murders taking place on the mountain, they team up to find the killer and restore peace to their workplace.
Have you ever watched a Kdrama and you just know it has a huge, huge budget? This is how I felt while watching Jirisan. Awesome cinematography, a talented cast, and an unputdownable storyline – all the markings of a superb Kdrama thriller.
Dong Baek has a special gift: he can read memories by touch. As a detective with a stellar reputation, a tough attitude, and a handsome face, he sometimes rubs his teammates the wrong way by being too violent with suspects.
Han Sun Mi is a prodigy profiler who rose to the top of the police force at twenty. When they encounter a serial killer who is more cunning and powerful than them, it becomes an epic clash of skill and will.
I watched Memorist during the worldwide lockdown, and I wasn’t sane for a few days.
One thing you should know is that Memorist has the most beautiful and utterly mesmerizing plotline, with deaths that revolve around a single entity (the main serial killer), but there are multiple downright terrifying killers in every two episodes or so.
Hae Yeong witnessed a girl’s kidnapping and murder as a child, but the killer was never found, and by the time he had become a cop and a profiler, he had already lost faith in the police.
One day, he discovers a walkie-talkie that lets him talk to Jae Han, a detective in the past, and together with So Hyun, another officer, they work on cold cases that were left unsolved.
This thriller Kdrama was good, good, good and if you like high stakes and tension-inducing chases, Signal is going to be a good fit for you.
16. Children of Nobody
As a child counselor and a happy wife, Cha Woo Kyung has it all. She is expecting a baby soon and can’t wait to start a new chapter in her life, but a horrible accident turns her world upside.
One day, she crosses paths with Kang Ji Hun, a hard-nosed detective who shows no mercy to criminals, and an unexpected relationship starts between them.
This is another thrilling Kdrama that deals with very important and sensitive issues like child abandonment and juvenile justice. If you want a watch that’s both introspective and touching, you’re going to enjoy this one.
17. Kill It
At just 12 episodes, this amazing thriller Kdrama about a vet who moonlights as a serial killer quite literally converted me to the Jang Ki Yong fan club.
Kim Soo Hyun, the veterinarian with a shrouded past who doubles as a killer slowly transforms into a vigilante as he uncovers the underbelly of crime thriving in society.
Do Hyun Jin, the female lead, is a smart and brave detective working in Seoul who used to be a ballerina but quit after a tragic accident.
While the mostly silent Soo Hyun and Hyun Jin grow closer, she hunts down a serial killer, and she starts noticing some cracks in his identity that ultimately place him as her nemesis.
I’ll proudly tell anyone anywhere that Kill It had me in a chokehold, and I’m not sorry about it.
This amazing thriller delivered on everything from the swoons to the action scenes, and that heartbreaking final episode just about had me screaming.
If you want to watch a Kdrama about a questionable male lead (with bottomless eyes) that will have you bawling by the last episode, this is the drama for you.
If you love thriller Kdramas, then you probably know that this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so, so, so many dramas out there with thrilling plotlines that will absolutely leave you speechless and satisfied.
The best ones will make you question everything with their clever and complex plots and themes, and you’re going to be talking about them for days!
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