The first half of 2015 delivered a plethora of K-Drama villains, who have hailed from different age groups and socio-economic backgrounds. While evil conglomerate heirs continue to be oft-used plot devices, dramas such as “The Girl Who Sees Smells” and “Who Are You: School 2015” have presented other terrifying archetypes.
CEO Byun Mi Seok (Na Young Hee) from “Producer” is a recent example of a supporting character whose horrible deeds created the perfect storm of K-Drama turmoil. She relentlessly pursued success through a series of young K-pop starlets, working them to exhaustion, before trading them in for a new trainee. As the series concluded it was revealed that CEO Byun had created a fantastic origin story for Cindy (IU), even though it involved having the teen idol denounce her deceased parents. The most disquieting aspects of CEO Byun were her reactions to situations like Cindy’s injury, which appeared to be ripped from the headlines of Korean entertainment news.
Min Seok Hoon (Yeon Jeong Hun) bears some resemblance to the typical K-Drama villain who stalks the boardroom while preying on weaker underlings. He is a master planner, who capitalized on an unfortunate accident involving his former lover, Seo Eun Ha (Soo Ae). His lust for power has no limits, even if it involves murdering those who stand in his way. He shows restrained compassion for his wife while relentlessly blackmailing Ji Sook (Soo Ae), a poor woman whose financial circumstances made her indebted to Seok Hoon.
Namgoong Min is typically cast as the sweet and understanding office manager who falls in love with women who show little interest. That description fits his characters in “Wild Chives and Soybean Soup” or “I Need Romance 3,” but his role as Kwon Jae Hee in “The Girl Who Sees Smells.” As a celebrity chef with a perchance for serial murder, he provided some of the most dramatic moments of the series.
It is always terrifying to see someone who always portrays the nice guy switch into an evil modality. Sung Joon also personifies the concept of romance in Korea, but his portrayal of Yoon Tae Joon, a spurned child-turned-psychologist in “Jekyll, Hyde and I” was frightening.
Korean horror movies have often focused on eerie children, but the concept of bullying in high school can be scarier than water ghosts. Actress Jo Soo Hyang brilliantly portrayed Kang So Young, the teenage bully with excellent grades, in “Who Are You: School 2015.” While her performance was fantastic, viewers continue to question the identity of the dead body that was once believed to be Lee Eun Bi or the circumstances that caused the murder. Characters like So Young and the circumstances of “Who Are You: School 2015” made the mean teens of “Gossip Girl” look tame.
Who is your favorite K-Drama villain of 2015? Was there an evil character who was missed in this list? Comment below.
About the writer: Adrienne Stanley is a contributing editor for KDramastars. She is also a contributing writer for Kpopstarz, MTV Iggy and CJ Entertainment’s KCON blog. Her passions include a love of K-pop and Asian drama. When she is not writing, she is hanging out on Twitter (@retrogirladdy).