Cover Jung Hae-in as Im Soo-ho/Rim Soo-hyeok in Snowdrop. Photo : JBTC

Almost always making viewers experience the so-called "second lead syndrome", this South Korean actor proves he can also be "first" in our hearts. Stream these shows to see why:

South Korean actor Jung Hae-in has played numerous supporting roles since he started his acting career in 2014, of which, the most memorable is his appearance in one of the highest-rated shows in Korean cable television history, Guardian: The Lonely and Great God as Ji Eun-tak's (Kim Go-eun) first love. The series, which also stars Gong Yoo as Goblin/Kim Shin, gained an impressive international following to this day.

In 2017, the crowd-favourite second lead's name became the top searched words on Naver, South Korea's largest search engine, when he starred in While You Were Sleeping as Han Woo-tak, a police officer who gets entangled in a love triangle with Nam Hong-joo (Bae Suzy) and Jung Jae-chan (Lee Jong-suk). And in 2018, Son Ye-jin who, even before becoming Captain Ri's (Hyun Bin) Yoon Se-ri in Crash Landing On You, was first Seo Joon-hee's (Jung Hae-in) Yoon Jin-ah in Something in the Rain. This marks Jung Hae-in's first lead role on television. 

This year, the 33-year-old actor returns with another lead role in a JBTC K-drama. Titled Snowdrop, this series, which will also stars Blackpink's Jisoo, also known as Kim Ji-soo, has been continuously stirring controversy since the beginning of the year up until it premiered on December 18 on Disney+ in select regions for alleged historical inaccuracies just like Joseon Exorcist. It can be recalled that the latter was terminated after airing two episodes on the grounds of historical distortion. A day after Snowdrop's premiere, a new petition to the Blue House was filed demanding suspension of the drama. It was reported that the petition garnered over 80,000 signatures a few hours after filing. Over 200,000 people signed the petition by the end of December 19 and eventually reached 300,000 signatures by December 21.

While fans are holding their breath with how the situation will pan out, K-drama life must go on. Here, we make a round-up of the must-watch Jung Hae-in drama series and movies this year. 

1 / 10

D.P. (2021)

This six-episode Netflix series set in 2014 reveals the "undesirable nature of the military" in South Korea. D.P., which stands for "Deserter Pursuit", stars Jung Hae-in as Private Ahn Joon-ho and Corporal Han Ho-yul (portrayed by Koo Kyo-hwan who was one of the main characters in the hit series, Kingdom: Ashin of the North), the duo whose job is to search for military deserters that lead them to an adventurous, action-packed journey. The series showcased the sad realities inside the military camp, which include bullying, hazing and the mindset for the survival of the fittest. 

Netflix has recently confirmed a season 2 is underway while the series also became part of the prestigious New York Times Best International Shows of 2021.

Watch on Netflix.

Read also: Duty Above All: 5 Military Characters in K-Drama

 

2 / 10

Snowdrop (2021)

Perhaps the most controversial of Jung Hae-in's dramas, Snowdrop is a story of a freshman at Hosoo Women's University named Eun Young-ro (Kim Jisoo) who falls in love at first sight with Im Soo-ho (Jung Hae-in), a North Korean agent on a mission in South Korea who's disguised as a graduate student from the University of Berlin. The series, which airs on Disney+, is set in the 1987 Democracy Movement—a mass protest movement that pushed for fair elections that eventually happened in December 1987, ending the authoritarian era in South Korea. Written and directed by the same creative force behind another television breakthrough, Sky Castle, the show stirred controversies and several cancellation attempts due to alleged historical distortion, character misrepresentation and the romanticisation of a spy's life. Snowdrop's ratings continue to plummet in South Korea while it creates noise elsewhere in the world, the Philippines included. 

Watch on Disney+.

Read also: Snowdrop: What To Know About Blackpink Jisoo’s New K-Drama

 

 

3 / 10

Tune in for Love (2019)

Screened at the prestigious London East Asia Film Festival where Jung Hae-in bagged the popularity award, this record-breaking box office romance movie is set in the Eighties and delves into the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Played by Kim Go-eun, bakery part-timer Mi-soo meets Hyun-woo (Jung Hae-in) when he dropped by the bakery after he was released from prison. Hyun-woo, later on, applies for a job in the same bakery and the two began working together. One day, Hyun-Woo's friends appear at the bakery store and he left with them. Mi-Soo believes Hyun-Woo will not come back, however, their relationship does not end there as their paths cross several more times in the future.

Watch on Netflix.

Read also: Baeksang Arts Awards 2021: All The Best Drama And Film Nominees

4 / 10

Something in the Rain (2018)

Marking Son Ye-jin's small screen comeback after a five-year hiatus, this JBTC series revolves around the relationship between a couple as they slowly fall in love amidst struggle brought about by age differences, which is considered a social taboo in some communities. A coffee house supervisor in her 30s, Jin-ah (Son Ye-jin) becomes friends with Joon-hee (Jung Hae-in) who is in his 20s. Jin-ah is the best friend of Joon-hee's sister since they were kids. It's a you-and-me against the world kind of drama that is sure to tickle the hopeless romantic in you. 

Watch on Netflix.

Read also: Crash Landing On You Stars Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin Reveal First Campaign As A Couple

 

5 / 10

One Spring Night (2019)

Following the success of Something in the Rain comes another masterpiece from the award-winning director Ahn Pan-seok in 2019. It tells the story of Lee Jeong-in (Han Ji-min), a librarian who had just ended a four-year relationship with a banker, Kwon Gi-seok (Kim Jun-han). She meets pharmacist and single dad Yoo Ji-ho (Jung Hae-in) who graduated from the same university she was in. Being frowned upon as a single parent, Ji-ho has to face this social stigma from almost everyone—his parents and friends included—with the exception of one person: Lee Jeong-in. Both Ji-ho and Jeong-in have to make uncomfortable decisions as they face a bumpy road ahead. In the end, did love win? 

Watch on Netflix.

Read also: 10 Snacks and Drinks You Often See In Korean Dramas: Banana Milk, Tteokbokki, Iced Americano And More

6 / 10

A Piece of Your Mind (2020)

This tvN drama-romance may be short-lived with only 12 episodes, but it tackles one issue that a lot of viewers can relate to: unrequited love. The story is about a good-hearted AI programmer named Moon Ha-won (Jung Hae-in) who is the founder of AH Company and Han Seo-woo (Chae Soo-bin), an optimistic classical music recording engineer whose life is unstable without a family or home.

Watch on Viu.

Read also: 10 Vincenzo Scenes That Speak Louder Than Words

7 / 10

While You Were Sleeping (2017)

One of Jung Hae-in's most memorable supporting role is as a smart 29-year-old police officer named Han Woo-tak who forms part of a love triangle that also involves Jung Jae-chan (Lee Jong-suk)—a rookie prosecutor—and Nam Hong-joo (Bae Suzy)—a field reporter—who both have the ability to see the future through their dreams. Han Woo-tak suffers from colour blindness, a condition that can jeopardize his career as a policeman. It's a legal-slash-fantasy drama that will give you that adrenaline rush every episode. 

Watch on Netflix and Viu.

Read also: 10 K Stars Who've Already Enlisted For Military Service: Gong Yoo, Lee Min-ho, Song Joong-ki, And More

8 / 10

Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016)

In this hit romance series, Jung Hae-in plays the role of Choi Tae-hee, Ji Eun-tak's (Kim Go-eun) first love, on episodes 7 and 8. Written by Kim Eun-sook, the screenwriter behind the popular series Secret Garden (2010), The Heirs (2013) and Descendants of the Sun (2016), Guardian: The Lonely and Great God marks Kim Eun-sook's second collaboration with director Lee Eun-bok after both worked on the award-winning Descendants of the Sun, which stars Vincenzo actor Song Joong-ki and his ex-wife, Song Hye-kyo.

See how the main characters Ji Eun-tak and Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) experience eternal love amidst chaos and challenges brought about by the past and the present.

Watch on Netflix and Viu.

Read also: 6 K-Drama Product Placements That Are Impossible to Miss

9 / 10

Jung Hae-in’s Travel Log (2019)

This variety show is a good break from all of Jung Hae-in's overly swoon-worthy dramas. In this travel documentary variety show, which he produces and films himself, he walks around destinations—in this case, New York—to show places to check out and experience, from Central Park to Niagara Falls.

Watch on Rakuten Viki.

Read also: 15 K Drama Actors To Follow On Instagram: Cha Eun-woo, Park Seo-joon, And More

 

10 / 10

Prison Playbook (2017)

Awarded as 12th Korean Cable TV Awards Best Drama in 2018, Prison Playbook gives a peek into the lives of convicts behind bars, their loved ones and the workers at the detention centre. The highlight is on famous baseball pitcher Kim Je-hyuk (Park Hae-soo) who is imprisoned for assault after he rescues his sister from sexual violation. Jung Hae-in plays the character of Yoo Jeong-woo or Captain Yoo, a commanding officer who allegedly attacked his teammate, which led to the latter's death. The role won him the Most Popular Actor award at the 54th Baeksang Arts Awards in the same year. Prison Playbook is directed by Shin Won-ho, the award-winning director of Reply anthology and written by Jung Bo-hoon.

Watch on Netflix.

Read also: Crash Landing on You, Itaewon Class, Goblin, and More: A List of Binge-worthy Korean Series

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