Revenge is best served cold, with a healthy slice of drama. It’s what we as an audience, love to watch unfold onscreen. It’s the unending, satisfying arc that’s old as time, yet still thriving in the modern-day iterations that we’ve recently spotted in the K-drama sphere. In real-time charts, Song Hye-kyo stuns viewers worldwide in her comeback drama, Netflix’s The Glory, which sees the veteran actor take on one of her most enigmatic roles yet. She portrays Moon Dong-eun, a former victim of bullying in high school, who plots to take down her abusers. A far cry from the romance heroine fans fell in love with in her previous works like Encounter and Descendants Of The Sun.
In The Glory, the limits are tested surrounding the heavy subject matter of high school bullying, while building up Dong-eun’s despair and aggravation as she stretches thin to breaking point. But in the first four episodes that were first released, we also get to see Song’s character all grown-up, in her reckoning as she devises a revenge plot against her bullies from school. Like her scheme, her poise is often calm, composed, while teeming with sharp prose courtesy of Song’s delivery.
Backed up by great cinematography and applaudable storytelling portrayed by the stellar cast, the series is said to be one of 2023’s best Korean dramas. Yet another exclamation to the revenge trope; to how we, as viewers find catharsis by watching fictional characters exact their own justice onscreen. As we eagerly await the series’s volume 2 release in March, here are other standout Korean revenge dramas that have made an indelible mark—and worthy of a binge.
1 / 5
The World of The Married
Just when you think it’s just another cliche revelation of a woman discovering her husband’s scathing affair, The World Of The Married promises a wild ride—fuelled by Kim Hee-ae’s riveting performance. As her character goes through a torrential turn of a shattered marriage, the heartbreak is channelled through upending her unfaithful husband’s life. Twists and turns follow as the couple winds up in a messy battle involving unresolved feelings and plenty of self-destruction.
Watch The World Of The Married on Netflix.
2 / 5
Following her captivating appearance in It’s Okay Not To Be Okay, Seo Ye-ji made her glorious return in Eve, this time slipping into the shoes of Lee Ra El, who had her perfect family torn to shreds. Portraying the ultimate femme fatale, she sets up an elaborate revenge scheme on the wealthy forces responsible for her father’s death and family’s demise.
Watch Eve on Viki.
3 / 5
Revenge of Others
Part mystery, part thriller, Revenge of Others stars Park Solomon (famous for his debut in All of Us Are Dead) and Shin Ye-eun who play high school students plagued by tragedy. The bigger story at hand sheds light on the anti-hero in a school riddled with bullies and crimes, as the unlikely duo pairs up to solve a mysterious death while fending off the dangerous perpetrator at hand.
Watch Revenge Of Others on Disney+.
4 / 5
Han So-Hee might have had her big break playing the other woman in The World of The Married, but her portrayal as Yoon Ji Woo in My Name, had viewers seeing the dainty actor in a different light. Determined to clear her father’s name and avenge his death while going undercover in a merciless mafia ring, Ji Woo trudges on to survive and defeat the main villain Choi Moo-jin in this exhilarating mini-series spiked with violence and brutality.
Watch My Name on Netflix.
5 / 5
All in all, Vincenzo might be dubbed as a revenge drama, but it sits a lot lighter on the spectrum, thanks to its humorous side plotlines. Main lead Song Joong-ki plays a Korean-Italian mafia lawyer who waywardly goes up against an evil conglomerate, while forming fateful alliances along the way. The entire series is peppered with clever ruses and shocking revelations while constantly driving home the sentiment: “It takes a devil to drive out another devil.”
Watch Vincenzo on Netflix.