Thrilling K-dramas are one of the most addictive categories of shows out there. Thankfully, Netflix has an array of exciting K-dramas for us to choose from. I will admit I love this genre of drama.
Something about the exhilarating plots and twists makes it my favorite genre. This list contains dramas primarily surrounding mysteries and crimes.
So if you are like me and you love an exhilarating watch, I hope you give some of these titles a try!
*This article contains spoilers
Mine is the story of an elite Korean family whose lives are warped in secrets. The family belongs to the Hyowon Group, which are powerful figures in the business world where the story takes place. The series opens up with the nun Mother Emma (Ye Soo-Jung) desperately rushing to the police station where she reveals there has been a murder.
From here the story unfolds and we slowly get to learn who it is that has died and the circumstances surrounding their death. The dynamic opening sets the tone of the series where nothing is as it seems.
Why You Should Watch It
This series was an amazing watch and used its non-linear storytelling to create hair-raising suspense. The story unravels in a series of flashforwards and flashbacks with the tragic death in the opening sequence at the center of it.
I love the way this story used its time skips to build up what happened before tragedy struck and explore what happened after without revealing the truth about the death until the last few episodes. I found this an incredible use of the element of time to create an in-depth story where we as audiences are unsure of the truth up till the very end.
I found the women in this show especially captivating. The way they all presented themselves as strong, clever, and loving characters made them unforgettable.
I believe these characters also did so well because of the fantastic actresses that played them. Lee Bo-Young, Kim Seo-Hyung, and Ok Ja-Yeon who played the leading ladies were incredible in their performances. I found their portrayals of their characters to be powerful and moving.
I enjoyed that this series did take a moment to explore the narrative of different maternal love through these women. It also explored how family both plays a role in one’s calamity and triumphs.
I will say this show does have some flaws. Personally, I felt as if the romance between the young couple Han Suhyeaok (N) and Kim Yu-Yeon (Jung Yi-Seo) was a bit unnecessary. I also found that this drama was more compelling as a devious thriller than a murder mystery.
All in all, however, this show was intriguing and kept me hooked as I waited for the new episodes each week. I think if anyone wants a women-driven thriller they should give Mine a try.
*Trigger Warnings: 16+, Death, Violence,
A man wakes up as a zombie (Choi Jin-Hyuk) with no memory of his identity or his past life. He then witnesses the murder of a private detective Kim Mooyoung, who he then assumes the identity of.
Through his new identity, he meets Gong Sun-Ji (Park Ju-Hyun) a feisty tv news writer who is determined to usurp disgusting criminals. With her help, he attempts to live amongst humans and solve the mysteries surrounding his life.
Why You Should Watch It
This series is definitely not your average zombie thriller. What I first noticed was the show’s humor. Zombie Detective generally relied on slapstick comedy and over-the-top characters to deliver laughs. But they did it in a way that was not crude but entertaining.
The show spliced its humor and drama very well. The blend was unmatched as I never felt as if one or the other stuck out like a sore thumb. The effort taken to make the comedy work did not go unnoticed. I really like that they tried something new while relying on old slapstick tricks.
For example, there is a ridiculous scene dedicated to a fight between the zombie and a wild boar. This fight used the format of nostalgic arcade games like Street Fighter. It was a hilarious scene that I could not forget. Although the humor stood out to me, the thrilling aspect of the show did not take a backseat to the fun.
I found the mysteries very well developed, intelligent and fascinating. The cases in the show made up a whole web of plots that slowly revealed more about the main characters. The connections between characters and cases were believable relationships that did not feel as if they were put in the show just for shock value.
I greatly appreciated that instead of taking the whole series to reveal these things, the show revealed the information in 3 parts according to what the duo was working on. I thought this was very clever storytelling as more often than not when dramas take the whole series to reveal twists about its main characters, the story can get tiresome.
The two created an interesting dynamic where Kim Mooyoung did not want to be involved with humans and their villainy whilst Gong Sun-Ji jumped into the thick of the action. Another part I am appreciative of is that in this drama their romance took a backseat.
Personally, I feel like when dramas try to stuff everything into one series, some elements can become quite lacklustre and underdeveloped. This show chose what and where to put their effort in, making it a stand-out K-drama for me.
I feel like this thriller was an incredibly entertaining watch, one that I binged over two days.
*Trigger Warnings: 16+, Death, Violence
In 1986, a detective Park Kwang Ho (Choi Jin Hyuk) is hell-bent on capturing a sadistic killer. A scuffle in the tunnel with the suspected perpetrator somehow launches Kwang Ho 30 years into the future, to the year 2016.
He desperately attempts to go back to his own time to see his family to no avail. He begins to adapt to his new surroundings and takes the identity of a young detective of the same name.
In 2016, Kwang Ho discovers that another killer has emerged with the same M.O as the one from his own time. Fearing that the killer he failed to catch in 1986 was restarting his evil doings, he desperately tries to catch them.
Why You Should Watch It
This is a thriller not for the faint of heart. This drama is heavily focused on the killers and their crimes. I found it especially unnerving to watch as the killers cunningly threw the detectives off their trail.
The ups and down the detectives went through in an attempt to catch the killer was especially frustrating and made the show feel realistic as crime-solving is rarely linear or simple. It was certainly an enamoring chase between the detectives and the killer.
I especially enjoyed the element of psychology that was brought into the show. I thought it was brilliant to explain the killer’s motivations and predict their next moves by analyzing their psyche. These sentiments never felt like a reach and remained realistic but frightening.
I would definitely call this drama a sentimental thriller as there is much focus on family. I think the supernatural element of time travel also helped this because of the connections between the past and the present.
It really showed how families can be torn in an instant due to a singular occurrence and how some people can remain broken from their past experiences.
The climax of this show is written incredibly well. I was surprised as I often find when watching dramas, towards the end the story gets draggy and I become disinterested but this was not the case for Tunnel.
I think it is difficult to create such a serious and moving show with elements of fantasy such as this, but Tunnel did an exemplary job. If you would like a dark thriller with hints of fantasy, this is the show for you.
*Trigger Warnings: 16+, Death, Violence, Mentions of Sexual Violence
Hopefully, you find these shows as captivating as I did. They are certainly great shows in their own right.
Judith Louis is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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