Top 10 K-dramas on North Korea you should watch: Snowdrop, CLOY, and more

K-dramas on North Korea (Image via Instagram/ @swoon)
K-dramas on North Korea (Image via Instagram/ @swoon)

K-dramas on the North Korean conflict is a sensitive topic in South Korea, however, it has given rise to many K-dramas on North Korea. These K-dramas on North Korea are popular in their own ways and address this important topic.

With its non-native locations, intriguing characters, and fast-paced storylines, K-dramas on North Korea are an interesting way to learn about a culture one does not know much about. From espionage to romance and comedy, K-dramas on North Korea provide a window into North Korea through characters and settings that are often action-packed and entertaining.

From love stories to political power struggles, these dramas showcase the best of South Korean storytelling, making them unmissable for fans of the genre.

From Snowdrop to Crash Landing on You, must-watch K-dramas on North Korea

1) Doctor Stranger

Release year: 2014

Starring: Lee Jong-suk, Jin Se-yeon, Park Hae-jin, and Kang So-ra

Doctor Stranger is a 2014 K-drama on North Korea featuring Lee Jong-suk as the lead character Park Hoon. The show follows Hoon, who is tricked into moving to North Korea at a young age. He must adapt to his new country and become a genius, cardiothoracic surgeon.

In this K-drama on North Korea, Hoon falls in love with Song Jae-hee. After her father passes away, they plan to escape to South Korea, but only Hoon is able to leave. He loses contact with Jae-hee and ends up working as a doctor in South Korea.

2) The King 2 Hearts

Release year: 2012

Starring: Ha Ji-won and Lee Seung-gi

This particular K-drama on North Korea takes place in a kingdom ruled by descendants of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897).

It takes the audience on a thrilling journey as Crown Prince Lee Jae-ha (Lee Seung-gi) embarks on a mission to strengthen ties with North Korea. There, he crosses paths with the fiery daughter of a top military official, Kim Hang-ah (Ha Ji-won). Sparks fly as they navigate their opposing views, in this K-drama on North Korea.

However, when a treacherous plot threatens their love and loyalty, they must make a heart-wrenching choice. This K-drama on North Korea blends political intrigue with a timeless tale of love, capturing the raw emotions of Romeo and Juliet with a modern twist of guns and mystical forces.

3) City Hunter

Release year: 2011

Starring: Lee Min-ho, Park Min-young, Lee Joon-hyuk, Kim Sang-joong, Kim Sang-ho, Hwang Sun-hee, Goo Hara, Chun Ho-jin, and Lee Kwang-soo.

City Hunter is a captivating K-drama on North Korea's revenge, politics, espionage, and forbidden love.

Lee Yoon-sung (Lee Min-ho) is a government employee with a secret mission, tasked by his foster father to seek vengeance against high-ranking military officials who betrayed him in North Korea.

As he sets out on his mission in this K-drama on North Korea, Yoon-sung's heart is put to the test when he falls for Kim Nana (Park Min-young). Nana is a dedicated bodyguard who also works for the Blue House.

Amidst all the action, this K-drama on North Korea turns the traditional North-South Korea narrative on its head, proving that the enemy is not always who we expect it to be. Brace yourself for a thrilling K-drama on North Korea full of adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last episode.

4) Korean Peninsula

Release year: 2012

Starring: Hwang Jung-min and Kim Jung-eun

The relationship between North and South Korea is explored in multiple ways in this K-drama on North Korea. It shows two scientists navigating their love and work against a backdrop of political turmoil.

Hwang Jung-min stars as a renowned South Korean scientist who falls in love with his North Korean counterpart, played by Kim Jung-eun. The two join forces as part of a groundbreaking inter-Korean collaboration aimed at tapping into the riches of methane hydrate gas off the coast of Korea.

As political tensions mount, their love and scientific progress are threatened. The two scientists must do everything in their power to bring their countries and their relationship together in this K-drama on North Korea.

5) Crash Landing on You

Release year: 2019-20

Starring: Hyun Bin, Son Ye-jin, Seo Ji-hye, and Kim Jung-hyun.

Crash Landing on You is one of those starter K-dramas on North Korea recommended to everyone interested in Korean dramas.

This romantic comedy tells the story of a wealthy South Korean heiress who crashes her paraglider in North Korea and meets a North Korean army officer who falls in love with her.

The K-drama on North Korea was a massive hit due to its unique love story and stellar performances by the lead actors. The drama continues to be relevant today in the interest of chemistry between the leads -Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin who got married on March 31, 2022, and have a baby boy.

However, the drama also faced controversy for its portrayal of K-dramas on North Korea and for normalizing the country's oppressive regime.

6) Blow Breeze

Release year: 2016

Starring: Son Ho-jun, Lim Ji-yeon, Han Joo-wan, Oh Ji-eun, and Hwang Bo-ra

Blow Breeze is a gripping 40-episode K-drama on North Korea that explores the harsh reality of life as a North Korean defector. Lim Ji-yeon stars as Mi Po-ong, a defector who meets Lee Jang-goo (played by Son Ho-joon) in Macau before reuniting in South Korea where they are embroiled in a family inheritance conflict.

The K-dramas on North Korea highlight the difficulties faced by North Korean escapees as they attempt to adjust to life in South Korea. Although the romance between Mi Poong and Jang Goo is central to the story, the family drama also takes center stage.

7) Snowdrop

Release year: 2021-22

Starring: Jung Hae-in, Kim Ji-soo, Yoo In-na, Jang Seung-jo, Yoon Se-ah, Kim Hye-yoon, and Jung Yoo-jin.

Snowdrop is a K-drama on North Korea centered around a North-South romance that has caused controversy among netizens. The show was met with backlash after a leaked synopsis revealed that it portrayed a spy during the politically charged Democratic Movement of 1987.

The K-drama on North Korea follows a romance between a female student Eun Young-ro (played by Jisoo) and Lim Soo-ho (Jung Hae-in), a graduate student mistaken for a protestor. After helping him heal from his wounds and keeping him hidden, Young-ro and Soo-ho fall in love.

However, this is one of the K-dramas on North Korea that takes a dramatic turn when Soo-ho's true identity is uncovered as a North Korean spy sent to the South.

8) Money Heist: Korea - Joint Economic Area

Release year: 2022

Starring: Yoo Ji-tae, Yunjin Kim, Park Hae-soo, Jeon Jong-seo, Lee Hyun-woo, Lee Won-jong, and Park Myung-hoon

This is one of the K-dramas on North Korea, which is a re-imagination of the popular Spanish series La Casa De Papel. It takes place in a Joint Security Area dividing North and South Korea, where a new unified currency is being printed with the reunification of the two Koreas.

A group of thieves seize this opportunity to carry out a daring heist in the mint, adding a unique twist to the classic story. Directed by Kim Hong-sun and written by Ryu Yong-jae, this K-drama on North Korea will leave you on the edge of your seat.

9) Iris

Release year: 2009

Starring: Lee Byung-hun, Kim Tae-hee, Jung Joon-ho, Kim Seung-woo, Kim So-yeon and Choi Seung-hyun.

Iris is a spy thriller K-drama that focuses on the North Korea-South Korea conflict.

The main characters are members of a secret South Korean organization known as the National Security Service (NSS), who are tasked with preventing a possible North Korean invasion.

This is one of the K-dramas on North Korea which features on high-stake missions, intense action sequences, and dramatic plot twists that keep the audience on the edge of their seats. The K-drama explores themes of patriotism, loyalty, and the cost of national security, while also shedding light on the historical tensions between North and South Korea.

10) Spy Myung-wol

Release year: 2011

Starring: Han Ye-seul, Eric Mun, and Lee Jin-wook

Spy Myung-wol is a on of the K-dramas on North Korea that incorporates elements of the North and South Korean conflict as a backdrop. The main character, Han Myung-wol, is a North Korean spy who is sent to South Korea on a mission to capture a popular South Korean star.

However, as she begins to interact with the star and the South Korean people, she starts to question her loyalty to North Korea and develops feelings for the star. The drama blends comedy, romance, and spy thriller elements to create a unique and entertaining story.

This is one of the K-dramas on North Korea that also touches on the theme of the consequences of loyalty and the meaning of true patriotism in the face of conflicting ideologies.

Snowdrop, Crash Landing on You are all popular K-dramas on North Korea available on giant streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney Plus. These K-dramas on North Korea showcase a unique viewpoint regarding the tensions between the two countries, with the audience in mind.

To look forward to more such narratives, Netflix has announced 34 new titles for K- entertainment including movies, series, unscripted shows etc, for complete entertainment throughout the year in 2023.

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Edited by Madhur Dave
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