Korean drama villains take many forms and a great Korean drama will have at least one true villain. A memorable villain does more than provide someone for the main characters to fight, they help in revealing the protagonists for who they are by demonstrating who they are not. While we love a good hero in a Korean drama, there is nothing quite like a great villain. Here are our rankings of who we think are the 10 greatest villains in Korean Dramas. We left the last spot empty as the team was undecided amongst a few candidates. Therefore, any recommendations will break the tie!
Coach Kim Joo Young – SKY Castle
Many might know the scary world of the Korean educational system. However, Coach Kim Joo Young (Kim Seo Hyung) will make you never want to put your child in the system…ever. Coach Kim Joo Young is an exclusive tutor that has a 100% success rate in getting students into one of the three top universities in Korea. What makes her character so scary is that you can see how a character like this could actually exist in South Korea. The lengths that she will go and the things she will do (even murder) will send chills down your spine. The movie does a great job of using her character as an instrument for parents to get what they want for their kids. Safe to say the tutoring industry in Korea took a bit of a hit by her character alone.
Lee Jae Kyung – My Love From the Star Villian
Lee Jae Kyung (Shin Sung-rok) is one of the best villains of all time. Some might feel he takes his evil role in a comic way but he still comes across as a very sinister character. He does a lot of evil acts in the drama from trying to silence Song-yi and exploiting Min-joon’s weaknesses. All this is to protect himself and only himself. Truly, one of the more selfish characters in any Korean drama. Just when you think he can’t be more hated, he injures Se-mi’s older brother, which takes his evilness to a whole new level.
Park Joong Heon – Goblin (Guardian)
Park Joong Hoon (Kim Byung Chul) might go down as the most manipulative and cunning villains in Korean drama history. He was able to brainwash and drive King Wang Yeo (Grim Reaper) crazy. He pretty much killed a family line just to get his favorite to become the successor. All that he does is purely on self-interest and about growing his power. The previous King knew this.
Cho Cheol-gang – Crash Landing on You
Cho Cheol-gang (Oh Man-seok) is the Lieutenant Commander in the North Korean Armed Forces Security Bureau. He is involved in not only racketeering but also murder. Cho gets found guilty of his crimes and is sent to jail but was able to escape to Seoul. He is driven by revenge and goes after both Jeong-hyeok and Se-ri. What makes him so dangerous is that he heads a vast criminal operation that stretches across the Korean peninsula.
Kang Hee Soo – Boys Over Flowers
Before there was Coach Kim Joo Young, there was Kang Hee-Soo (Lee Hye Young) the mother of Gu Jun Pyo. She is a leading ruthless businesswoman in Korea but what makes her so evil is the things she will do to make sure her son does not end up with Jan-di. She uses a variety of methods to break them apart. How can you not hate a character that tries to break up one of the greatest KDrama couples of all time? However, she was successful in destroying her daughter’s previous relationship which shows just how heartless she really is.
She is not only manipulative but also very selfish and immature. Her main focus is always on the company and her family’s public image. The reason why she is not higher on this list is that by the end of the series she seems to have had a change of heart and lets Gu Jun Pyo and Jan Di’s relationship happen.
Jang Dae Hee – Itaewon Class
Jang Dae Hee (Yoo Jae Myung) is one of the evilest characters in a Korean drama you will find. However, he is very critical of the series. What makes him so hated is his complete lack of remorse and his desire to win at any cost. It doesn’t matter who he hurts as long as he gets what he wants. He shows very little emotion and for those that have worked for old-fashioned CEOs…Jang Dae Hee is the embodiment of the classic evil CEO conglomerate. The biggest satisfaction came when Jang Dae Hee ended up kneeling in front of Saeroyi…that is an image you will never forget.
Min Joon-gook – I Can Hear your Voice
Min Joon-gook (Jung Woong-in) is the murderer of Soo-ha’s father. He ended up going to jail for 10 years as a result of Hye-sung’s testimony. Upon his release, revenge was his top priority. For getting convicted of murder, Min Joon-gook goes after Hye-sung and Soo-ha.
Han Sang Hoon – W: Two Worlds Villan
Han Sang-Hoon (Kim Eui Sung) would be #1 on this list if it was the most evil-looking villain in a Korean drama. He is the real killer of Kang Chul’s family. However, his true identity does not get revealed until later in the series. His evil presence is still felt throughout the series where he mostly appears in a shadowy, faceless human form.
Queen Consort Cho – Kingdom
Those that have seen Kingdom might think it can’t get worse than the zombies. However, there is one character that is the true villain in the series. Queen Consort Cho was born of evil and would stop at nothing until she had the ultimate power. This even means spreading the virus in the palace and across the country just so she doesn’t have to give up her position as de facto queen. Furthermore, she ends up stealing a baby boy from another mother because she fails to give birth herself. She just makes this list because she gets what she deserves in the end.
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