K-Drama

5 iconic K-drama male leads we can’t forget

Think along the lines of Ji Changwook from The Worst of Evil, Lee Jehoon from Chief Detective 1958, and more.

HallyuSG

| June 12, 2024
Chief Detective 1958
Photo: Disney+

When it comes to K-dramas, we can’t deny that engrossing plotlines are the key to getting fans hooked. But the cast is equally important in getting viewers invested in the characters.

From iconic police roles like Ji Changwook in the award-winning Disney+ series The Worst of Evil, or Lee Jehoon, who acts as a passionate, righteous detective to other male leads with superpowers, like Zo Insung’s role in Moving. We cannot forget them.

Be it sweet romance series or heart-stopping and thrilling K-dramas and even musical documentaries, Disney+ has them all. HallyuSG takes a closer look at five unforgettable K-drama male leads.

1. Ji Changwook from The Worst of Evil

Disney+
Park Junmo (Ji Changwook) plays an undercover cop, who seeks to infiltrate the drug ring. Photo: Disney+

Ji Changwook is no stranger to the K-drama scene. In The Worst of Evil, he played a police officer who was initially from the countryside.

In the award-winning noir series, Ji oozed charisma in action scenes as he played undercover to crack down on a drug cartel. 

These scenes were also neutralised by more heartwarming moments with his wife played by Im Semi, as well as a fleeting fling with Hae Ryeon (BIBI), a central figure in the cartel. We’d think Ji is a master of both action and romance at this point.

 

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If you’re a fan of his acting, you can look forward to Ji playing a back alley enforcer in the upcoming Disney+ series Gangnam B-side which will drop later this year. 

He will also star in an upcoming variety programme My Name is Gabriel, debuting on 21 June alongside fellow actor Park Bogum.

The programme will see the duo, alongside Park Myungsoo and Yeom Hyeran, shake off their fame and live someone else’s life in different countries for 72 hours under a different name.

The Worst of Evil is streaming on Disney+.

2. Zo Insung from Moving

In Moving (2023), South Korean actor Zo Insung played Kim Doosik, a NIS agent who can fly. A veteran actor himself, Zo’s acting chops were evident in this series centered on superpowers.

His role in Moving definitely left an impression as this was his comeback role after seven years. And Zo still impresses with his dramatic prowess, which partly explains the accolades the series has clinched thus far. 

It has since bagged the Grand Prize at the recent Baeksang awards and actor Lee Jungha also clinched Best New Actor at the awards ceremony.

Fans, too, probably found this genre refreshing, as series of this sort are few and far between when it comes to K-dramas.

Can’t get enough of Zo Insung? You can also watch Unexpected Business in California on Disney+, where Cha Taehyun and Zo Insung run a Korean-American grocery store in the quiet seaside city of Monterey, California.

Moving is streaming on Disney+.

3. Song Kangho from Uncle Samsik

Disney+
Song Kangho makes first series debut in Uncle Samsik. Photo: Disney+

Song Kangho debuts in his first TV series with the recent K-drama Uncle Samsik, where he played the series’ titular character.

The 16-part series is set amidst the turbulent backdrop of the 1960s. Along the episodes, viewers can also delve into the passionate desire and bromance between Uncle Samsik and super-elite Kim San (Byun Yohan), an elite graduate of the Korean Military Academy.

Usually starring in films, Song’s commendable portrayal of Uncle Samsik in the series also left an indelible impression. While mostly strategic and sharp, his role also boasts a facade of wit.

Viewers can look forward to how Uncle Samsik and Kim San will work together, sharing ideas on ​​how they can possibly change the nation’s future.

Uncle Samsik is currently streaming on Disney+.

 

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4. Ju Jihoon from Blood Free

Disney+
Ju Jihoon in a behind-the-scenes image from K-drama Blood Free. Photo: Disney+

K-drama Blood Free takes us into the future, as it revolves around a company named Blood Free, producing artificially cultured meat. Main lead Ju Jihoon takes on the role of Woo Chaewoon, who is the bodyguard of the company’s CEO Yun Jayu (played by Han Hyojoo).

In the series, Ju performed a series of stunts, which perfectly fit his clean and classy image of a former Navy soldier-turned-bodyguard. With his maturity and masculinity, he’s the exact textbook definition of that; which made his enigmatic role all the more convincing. 

As his motives were shrouded in mystery, fans will have to watch to find out if he is a protector or threat to Yun and the company.

Ju will soon star in Disney+’s Light Shop, which will see its release in the near future. In the series, he will play the owner of the light shop which holds the key to strangers’ pasts, presents and futures.

Blood Free is streaming on Disney+.

5. Lee Jehoon from Chief Detective 1958

Lee Jehoon plays a young detective named Park Yeonghan in Disney+’s Chief Detective 1958. Photo: Disney+

Going back to the past, Disney+’s Chief Detective 1958 stars young detective Park Yeonghan, portrayed by Lee Jehoon. Detective Park finds the current landscape which tramples on human dignity troubling, and teams up with his other colleagues in hopes of curbing this.

In a time when corruption was the norm, Detective Park stuck to his principles in hopes to right things. 

No stranger to roles that bring justice, Lee once again aces his portrayal of Detective Park whether it’s the accent, gestures or more as the team deals with a myriad of cases — from security fraud to murder.

Chief Detective 1958 is streaming on Disney+.

Can’t get enough? That’s not all. There will be more male leads to look forward to in the upcoming K-dramas on Disney+, including Jung Jihoon (Rain), who plays a bodyguard in the romantic revenge series Red Swan (3 Jul), together with Park Bogum and Ji Changwook starring in the variety programme My Name Is Gabriel (21 Jun).

Additionally, the third season of Disney+’s The Zone: Survival Mission will cast Yu Jaeseok, Kim Donghyun, Dex and more. Be sure to stream your favourite K-content on Disney+. Subscribe now.

This article is brought to you in collaboration with Disney+.

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