Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Ashtyn Lee
In Why Her?, Oh Soo Jae (Seo Hyun Jin) is a coldhearted lawyer who only chases success. While she investigates the sexual harassment case involving a law school professor and attempts to find the truth behind the plaintiff’s death, she must also protect herself from unknown dangers. Strong, initiative female leads provide an exciting viewing experience to viewers as they strive to achieve their goals. Today, we’ll look at five of the best Korean shows starring powerful female leads.
Inspector Koo (2021)
Inspector Koo is a crime-comedy drama about Koo Kyung Yi (Lee Young Ae), a cop-turned-insurance inspector who investigates a serial murder case. Koo Kyung Yi, who is addicted to video games and alcohol, receives a request from her colleague named Na Jae Hee (Kwak Sun Young) to look into an insurance fraud case. While doing so, she learns about a mysterious serial killer named K (Kim Hye Joon) and that she had disguised murders as accidents. The drama received a lot of positive reviews from viewers as it had fresh and tension-filled plotlines following the two leads clashing with each other. Through this drama which she starred in after a four-year hiatus, Lee Young Ae was able to break away from her stereotypical image and create a unique character of her own. Her co-star, Kim Hye Joon, also won the New Television Actress Award at the 58th Baeksang Arts Award for her performance as K, a two-faced killer.
One the Woman (2021)
One the Woman is a comedy-drama following a corrupted prosecutor named Jo Yeon Ju, who loses her memory due to a car accident. When she wakes up, she gets mistaken for Kang Mi Na, a daughter-in-law from a super-rich conglomerate family. Lee Hanee received rave reviews for portraying two different roles with opposite personalities: Jo Yeon Ju, a reckless woman who has a strong desire for success, and Kang Mi Na, a reserved woman who never bottles up her emotions. The scenes where Cho Yeon Ju snapped in front of her husband’s family and pointed out the irrationalities of society gave people vicarious thrills, and her dirt pit scene went viral online as well.
Political Fever (2021)
Political Fever is a sitcom about politics, which is hard to find in Korean dramas. It follows the week-long journey of a female politician named Lee Jung Eun (Kim Sung Ryeong), who also happens to be an Olympic gold medalist, as she gets appointed as the Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. If previous political dramas focused on power struggles and corruption, Political Fever focused on real-world issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic and demonstrated the beauty of political satire. The sudden appointment of Lee Jung Eun as a minister and the hectic life of working-level officials who assist her reveal the reality of the current ministry. You also cannot miss the heated debate between Lee Jung Eun, a true politician who wants to accomplish the goals she promised to citizens, and Cha Jung Won (Bae Hae Sun), who wants to climb up the ladder and become an important official at the Blue House.
My Name (2021)
My Name is an action drama about a woman out for vengeance. It follows Ji Woo (Han So Hee) as she joins a criminal organization to find out who killed her father. She infiltrates the police with a fake identity and confronts an unwanted truth. Although the story has some overused tropes with no redeeming characters, the brilliant performance of the actors makes up for those shortcomings. Han So Hee’s acting transformation is also notable as she wasn’t always the one who we would think of when it came to action dramas like this. The actress reportedly attended action schools before filming and pulled off extreme scenes filled with stunts. She also portrayed a strong and driven female figure and imprinted her name on the viewers’ minds, just like the drama’s title.
Nobody Knows (2020)
Nobody Knows is a drama that asks, “What makes a good adult?” A homicide detective named Cha Young Jin (Kim Seo Hyung) has a life goal of protecting her loved ones as she has a painful memory of losing her friend to a serial killer. One day, her friend Eun Ho was found dead at the foot of a building, and the drama follows Young Jin’s troubled past and the reasons behind her friend’s death. Kim Seo Hyung, who played numerous powerful female characters, took on the role of the passionate detective and led the drama all by herself for the first time in her acting career.
Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.