18 Veteran Actors You’ll Spot In All Your Favorite K-Dramas

Why do the lead actors get all the glory, huh? Yes, they’re pretty and yes, they do a good job (well, most of them). But too often we forget the unsung heroes of K-dramas – the moms, coworkers, secretaries, and evil ministers who make the world go round. Without them, every drama would just be two hot people staring at each other for 16 hours plus.

Once you’ve spent a bit of time in Dramaland, you start to recognize the same actors popping up again and again to play these vital roles. You even look forward to the moment when you can say, “oh, hey look, it’s That Guy again!” In celebration of That Guy and That Lady, here’s a list of 18 of our favorite veteran character actors – whenever we see them on-screen, it feels like we’re catching up with an old friend.

1. Sung Dong Il

Most likely to play: an irritable, shouty dad or father-figure who’s just a great big softie underneath all that bluff. When Sung Dong Il tries not to cry, we all become a sobbing mess.

Check out Sung Dong Il’s drama, “Reply 1988“:

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2. Chun Ho Jin

Most likely to play: an evil politician who’s harder to get rid of than a cockroach. He’s so great at being evil that it’s an extra special treat when he plays the good guy.

Check out Chun Ho Jin’s drama, “My Strange Hero“:

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3. Kim Mi Kyung

Most likely to play: a stony-faced but loving mom who always comes through in a crisis. Seriously, she almost always plays moms, but we love her best as the iconic hacker ahjumma Min Ja in “Healer.”

Check out Kim Mi Kyung’s drama, “Healer“:

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4. Uhm Hyo Sup

Most likely to play: anyone! This guy likes to mix it up, bringing a mild-mannered but slightly shifty quality to all his roles, which include doctors, prosecutors, teachers, and a variety of dads.

Check out Uhm Hyo Sup’s drama, “Shopping King Louie“:

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5. Kim Kwang Gyu

Most likely to play: a goofy, fumbling salaryman who tries his best to be evil but usually ends up siding with the good guys. His panicked grin shows up in all the best comedy-dramas.

Check out Kim Kwang Gyu’s drama, “Hwarang“:

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6. Kim Young Ok

Most likely to play: my grandma, your grandma, everyone’s grandma! Worrying she will die before the drama’s end is a rite of passage for any K-drama fan.

Check out Kim Young Ok’s drama, “Radiant“:

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7. Jo Han Chul

Most likely to play: a decent but tortured type of guy who’s good at his job but tends to get in his own way a lot. He’ll probably give you a long speech about why life sucks.

Check out Jo Han Chul’s drama, “Kill It“:

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8. Lee Il Hwa

Most likely to play: a complicated, stressed-out mom. On the one hand, she loves her kids like crazy. On the other hand, she has a lot going on that they couldn’t even imagine.

Check out Lee Il Hwa’s drama, “Doctor Stranger“:

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9. Jung Hae Kyun

Most likely to play: a larger than life character on either side of the moral spectrum. He could be the world’s most doting dad or the most cartoonishly evil CEO in Seoul.

Check out Jung Hae Kyun’s drama, “Two Cops“:

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10. Hwang Young Hee

Most likely to play: a no-nonsense ahjumma who tells it to you straight, with a smack on the head for good luck. If you think she’s cleaning up after you, you’ve got another thing coming.

Check out Hwang Young Hee’s drama, “While You Were Sleeping“:

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11. Yoo Jae Myung

Most likely to play: a lead character. He often gets top billing in serious, prestige dramas, but you’ll also spot him playing for laughs in the background of a few rom-coms.

Check out Yoo Jae Myung’s drama, “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon“:

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12. Nam Gi Ae

Most likely to play: a society lady with hair that’s big and full of secrets. Beware: her fancy-schmancy airs and graces are nothing compared to her nerves of steel.

Check out Nam Gi Ae’s drama, “Encounter“:

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13. Woo Hyun

Most likely to play: a tiny but mighty fighter with a big heart. He’ll do anything for his kids, and he’ll do it with a skip in his step and a squeak in his voice.

Check out Woo Hyun’s drama, “My ID Is Gangnam Beauty“:

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14. Kim Sun Young

Most likely to play: a charming chameleon who’s all smiles one minute and gets her claws out the next. She’s great at hilarious but complex comic roles, making you laugh and cry all at once.

Check out Kim Sun Young’s drama, “Because This Is My First Life“:

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15. Choi Won Young

Most likely to play: a serial killer. Well, it’s rare that he actually does the whole murder thing, but if looks could kill, this guy would be a hitman. It’s the same look he throws around when his kids disappoint him.

Check out Choi Won Young’s drama, “Where Stars Land“:

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16. Yoon Yoo Sun

Most likely to play: a sweet-but-snappy lady you wouldn’t want to mess with. She does a great job of pretending she’s chill, but if you poke her ego she’ll go crazy in a hot minute.

Check out Yoon Yoo Sun’s drama, “Just Between Lovers“:

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17. Ahn Nae Sang

Most likely to play: a wise uncle who gives great advice and tries not to roll his eyes when you do the opposite of whatever he just said. An absolute pro at exasperated sighs.

Check out Ahn Nae Sang’s drama, “Lawless Lawyer“:

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18. Kim Won Hae

Most likely to play: the laziest, messiest, craziest, angriest, strangest guy in the room. Has there ever been a K-drama where he only makes serious faces?

Check out Kim Won Hae’s drama, “Clean With Passion For Now“:

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Which veteran actor do you always look out for? Let us know in the comments below!

Azra_A spends most of her waking hours waiting patiently for 2PM’s next comeback (roll on 2021!). She relies on sheet masks and weird ice cream flavors to help her endure (cucumber is great, ceylon is better). When she’s not watching the comeback clock, you’ll find her on Instagram.

Currently watching: “Confession,” “Kill It,” “Her Private Life
All-time favorite dramas:My Love From the Star,” “Healer
Looking forward to: “Abyss,” “Absolute Boyfriend

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