Battle of the Second Leads, Park Hae Jin vs Ji Chang Wook

Park Hae Jin vs Ji Chang Wook

Last year, we had Chil Bong (Yoo Yeon Seok) and Young Do (Kim Woo Bin) scoring points with the ladies. Both were second leads in highly popular dramas, “Reply 1994” and “The Heirs” respectively.

Their potential successors? None other than Park Hae Jin from SBS drama “Man from the Stars” and Ji Chang Wook from MBC sageuk “Empress Ki.” Both dramas are doing very well in ratings, and while there are some big names attached to both dramas, let’s not forget that these two second leads have also seen their popularity soar.

Park Hae Jin plays Hwi Kyung in “Man from the Stars,” while Ji Chang Wook plays Yuan Emperor Ta Hwan in “Empress Ki,” and while both enjoy privileged statuses as chaebol and emperor respectively, they’re in second place when it comes to love. Hence they are being called “eul nam” (“eul” = second, “nam” = man).

It was love at first sight for Park Hae Jin’s Hwi Kyung when he laid eyes on Chun Song Yi (Jun Ji Hyun) in middle school. For ten years, he has only had eyes for Song Yi. As the youngest son of a chaebol group, Hwi Kyung has everything he wants, except Chun Song Yi.

Hwi Kyung is different from the typical arrogant chaebol heir. He prepared an amusement park event for Chun Song Yi during her birthday to make her happy; she had visited the amusement park with her father when she was younger. Hwi Kyung also played guardian to Song Yi’s brother when he landed up at the police station. He adorably grumbles at Song Yi to look at him as a man, while refusing his friend Yoo Se Mi (Yoo In Na) when she confesses to him. Park Hae Jin’s portrayal of Hwi Kyung as a simple-hearted chaebol, with a single-minded devotion to Chun Song Yi, has been earning him favorable reviews.

On the flip side, Ji Chang Wook’s Ta Hwan was born the eldest son, but his place on the throne was stolen by his younger brother due to political manipulation. He eventually returned to the Yuan Dynasty and ascended the throne, but lives under the shadow of possibly being assassinated anytime. He fell in love with court lady Seung Nyang (Ha Ji Won), who saved his life. The immature Ta Hwan transformed into the tormented Emperor “dark Ta Hwan.” The love triangle between Ta Hwan, Seung Nyang and Wang Yoo (Joo Jin Mo) is heating up, and Ta Hwan’s naivety, in contrast with Wang Yoo, has got female viewers hearts aflutter.

“Man from the Stars” airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:00 PM KST on SBS, while “Empress Ki” airs on Mondays and Tuesdays at 10:00 PM KST on MBC.