Are you running out of TV shows to watch? Or are you having trouble navigating the endless depths of the binge-watching world? If you’ve always wanted to jump onto the K-Drama bandwagon but cannot stomach the endless lovey-dovey slow-mo scenes, this list is for you. If anything “Parasite” and “Train To Busan” have proven, Koreans make amazing work of darker, heavier plots. They are masters of blending comedy, romance, thrillers, mystery and more into one – without leaving you feeling like you’ve just had a spoonful of oil. Here are the top dramas rated by viewers in the Crime and thriller categories you’ll want to binge-watch now.
1. The Fiery Priest (Genre: Crime, Comedy)
If you don’t want to delve into anything too dark, this drama is for you. Not only do you get to see what happens when you put a wayward priest, a detective who should have lost his job ages ago and a feisty but oddball prosecutor in one room, it’s done in such refreshing way. The drama has more episodes than an average K-drama with 40 episodes, but you’ll be wishing for more up till the very end because it’s pure gold. One of the most refreshing aspects of this drama is that it does not bother with the “perfect” images that the leads of dramas usually have – no, it allows it’s characters to be as relatable as possible. This action-packed crime show artistically blends intense moments of heartbreak, laughter, character development and real-life messages. It’s no wonder it swept up almost all of the awards it was nominated for (11 nominations!) and had one of the highest ratings in 2020.
2. Stranger From Hell (Genre: Psychological thriller)
Of if you are the “go hard of go home” type of binge-watcher, this one is for you. Starring Im Si-wan and Lee Dong-wook, this 10 episode series is the definition of “spooky”. The show plunges the viewer into a world of madness the likes of which you would never have experienced in a Korean drama before. Despite note being of the supernatural genre, the drama has the same elements of thrilling fear you’d get from a good ol’ supernatural horror show. It tells the story of a young man who decides to stay in a creepy dormitory (named Eden Gosiwon) to save money after moving to Seoul for an internship. For 6 months, he has to share the kitchen and bathroom with the other residents. The show is dark and kinda freaky – but in the best possible way. Each character is interesting and distinct in their personalities. If anything, it’s the perfect way to remind you that you could have worse luck with your neighbours.
3. Tell Me What You Saw (Genre: Crime, Thriller)
Oh Hyun-Jae was a celebrated criminal profiler who vanished after an accident that led to the death of his fiance. He is then partnered with a rookie detective (played by Sooyoung from SNSD) with a special ability to…… yeah no, I’m not going to reveal what it is exactly that she can do but the two become informal partners. In 16 episodes, you are taken for a thrilling ride as the pressure builds to solve the cases in the drama. From unexpected plot twists to superb acting, you are sure to feel goosebumps as you follow the characters in their hunt for the criminals involved.
4. The Game: Towards Zero (Genre: Crime, Fantasy, Drama)
If you’re the type to favour the villain in shows or movies, this is perfect for you. 2PM’s Taecyeon plays a man with the prophet-like ability to know how a person will die. While assisting in a kidnapping case, he meets a detective whose death he cannot foresee – a first for him. It would have been more appropriate for this drama to be called “towards the final hour” or “minutes from death” with its Sherlock Holmes-like drama. It’s brimming with cat-and-mouse hunts that is great for those who love a good crime-solving drama.
5. Memorist (Genre: Crime, Mystery, Fantasy)
The story follows Dong Baek, who has the power to read memories, as he joins the police force to solve crimes and search for clues to his past. The show is ongoing, with 6 of its 16 episodes released as of yet. With lines like, “I always wondered whether the media was garbage because of society or if society is what it is because of the media”, this intense, nail-biting thriller will keep you engaged throughout with its twists, turns and amazing acting.
If you’ve watched any of the shows mentioned – let us know what you think! Love, Hate or Binned? Of if you have any recommendations of your own, sound off below!