Sure, we usually watch K-dramas for all the ~kilig~ we feel when we see the characters fall in love. Or the satisfaction of seeing the good guy win out against all odds. But sometimes, for the protagonist to shine, a drama needs a villain who can bring a lot to the stage.
A good villain lets you understand who the main character is better, but a great villain actually hooks you in while also showing you what a protagonist isn’t. From tragic backstories to revenge plots to mad crazy schemes, K-drama villains have a lot to offer and even occasionally steal the spotlight from the lead. Here are some of the best K-drama villains every fan loves to hate and hates to love.
Warning; Minor spoilers ahead! Read at your own risk.
Yeo Dakyung from The World of the Married
The only daughter of a rich businessman and a former beauty queen, Yeo Dakyung looks pretty, innocent, and vulnerable. She starts an affair with Lee Taeoh, who is married to Dr. Ji Sunwoo. Dakyung is a perfect example of a villain-turned-victim. But honestly? Everyone in this show is a villain really, except for the poor son. Watch on Viu.
Kim Juyeong from Sky Castle
A sought-after tutor exclusive to the rich and elite, Kim Juyeong boasts a 100% success rate in getting her students accepted into the infamous SKY universities (Seoul National University, Korea University, and Yonsei University). But her methods are questionable, and she has a lot of secrets, including a genius daughter who became mentally ill due to her mother’s actions. The role of this villainess was so challenging that veteran actress Kim Seohyung nearly quit midway through the series (but good thing she persevered!). Watch on Viu.
Cheon Seojin from Penthouse
The wealthy Cheon Seojin seems to have it all, showing off her riches to anyone who would look and arrogantly looking down at the rest of the world — but she isn’t satisfied. She wants everything: power, money, pride, even the husband of her neighbor, with whom she has an affair. Watch on Viu.
Baek Inha from Cheese in the Trap
Crazy and a little bit obsessed, Baek Inha has always harbored a crush on her childhood friend Yoo Jung. Unfortunately, because of her crush, she tends to bully his girlfriends, including protagonist Hong Seol. She is aggressive, often resorting to violence and crazy antics to push away anyone who approaches her crush. Watch on Viu.
Rachel Yoo from The Heirs
With the ensemble cast that this show has, we rarely see Rachel Yoo onscreen except for the few times the protagonists’ love story needed a little bit of spicing up. But when this girl was on screen, well, she definitely stole the show. Chic and haughty, this chaebol heiress could be petty AF, doing high school pranks (e.g. throwing the female lead’s clothes in the trash), but she makes it look like you should thank her for giving you the time of the day. Watch on Viu.
Queen Jiso from Hwarang
For more than a decade, Queen Jiso has been acting as Silla’s regent, enjoying the power the position brings while hiding her son for “safety” after the death of the previous king. She founded the Hwarang, a group of young elite warriors tasked to protect Sill, but she has her own agenda. Watch on Viu.
Kang Heesoo from Boys Over Flowers
The character who made the kontrabidang mother-in-law a K-drama trope, Kang Hee Soo is the mother of Gu Junpyo and has no qualms making her extreme dislike for poor Geum Jandi. She does anything and everything to make sure her son doesn’t end up with this undeserving girl. Watch on Viu.
Lee Joonyoung from Remember You
Lee Joonyoung is undeniably evil. No matter his dark past, he chose to embrace his psychopathic and murderous thoughts, using his genius and penchant for forensics to cover up his evil deeds. He even goes so far as to get close to the investigators of his case to control the situation. He was portrayed Choi Wonyoung and EXO’s D.O., and both gave impeccable performances. Watch on Viu.
Viu is an online streaming service that brings you the latest Korean dramas and variety shows, Japanese dramas, and animation, Chinese and Taiwanese dramas for free. Subscribers of PLDT Home can sign up for a Viu premium account through their PLDT Home bill — doing so lets you get your first month free of charge! You only need to pay PHP 80 for the succeeding months, discounted from the standard PHP 129 monthly rate. Cool, huh?