With a career spanning more than 20 years, Jang Hyuk continues to prove his mettle as an actor on the small screen. He’s been starring in K-dramas since 1997, showing off his versatility in different genres from romantic comedies to historical dramas to thrillers. As he turns 45 (Korean age) this December 20, we look back at some of our fave Jang Hyuk dramas. What are yours?
1. Successful Story Of A Bright Girl (2002)
Who else is in it: Jang Na Ra, Han Eun Jung, Ryu Soo Young
If you’re an OG K-drama fan, then you’ve probably watched this drama while it was airing on GMA-7 back in the early ‘00s. We’ll never forget the iconic scene where haughty businessman Gi Tae (Hyuk) drops into country girl Yang Soon’s (Na Ra) bathtub with his parachute. The two leads hate each other at first, but their relationship eventually evolves into something more. Jang Hyuk and Jang Na Ra had such great chemistry on the show that they reunited on another project years later.
2. The Slave Hunters (2010)
Who else is in it: Oh Ji Ho, Lee Da Hae, Gong Hyung Jin, Lee Jong Hyuk
Hyuk won the Daesang (aka Grand Prize or the highest distinction you can get at an awards ceremony) for his role as Lee Dae Gil in this period drama set in the Joseon dynasty. He even got nominated for an International Emmy Award for Best Actor. In the story, a series of unfortunate events happens to nobleman Dae Gil after he falls for Un Nyun (Da Hae), the sister of their slave. He ends up alone and penniless, and he becomes a slave hunter on a mission to get revenge. Meanwhile, Un Nyun becomes a noble, catching the eye of Tae Ha (Ji Ho), a military general who becomes a slave Dae Gil must hunt down.
3. Deep Rooted Tree (2011)
This historical mystery romance revolves around the creation of the Korean alphabet, Hangul, and how its use was spread to commoners. It tells the story of King Sejong (Su Kyu) who ends up causing the death of his in-laws and their slaves after failing to go against his tyrannical father, King Taejong. Slave Ddol Bok (Hyuk) thinks his friend, Dam (Se Kyung), is dead. As the only survivor, he vows to get revenge on King Sejong, eventually becoming a royal inspector so that he can kill him. But as he investigates, he realizes there’s something more sinister happening behind the scenes. Bonus: You get to see some familiar faces playing the young versions of our leads: Song Joong Ki, Yeo Jin Goo, and Kim Hyun Soo.
4. You Are My Destiny (2014)
Who else is in it: Jang Na Ra, Choi Jin Hyuk, Wang Ji Won
Jang Hyuk and Jang Nara reunite in this rom-com, a remake of the highly popular Taiwanese drama Fated to Love You. In it, ordinary office worker Mi Young (Na Ra) gets abused by her co-workers who call her “Post-It.” She meets arrogant chaebol Lee Gun (Hyuk) one night, and through an unlikely chain of events, they end up sleeping together. Mi Young has no plans of ever seeing him again—until she realizes she’s pregnant. Can she and Gun have an actual relationship, or is this just a trainwreck waiting to happen?
5. Voice (2017)
Who else is in it: Lee Ha Na, Baek Sung Hyun, Super Junior's Yesung, Son Eun Seo
This crime thriller from OCN had such high ratings that it spawned multiple seasons, including a fourth season that just aired this year. Hyuk appears in season 1 playing Moo Jin Hyuk, a detective whose life changes when his wife gets murdered. He meets his match in Kang Kwon Joo (Ha Na), a policewoman whose father also got murdered. She has unique psycho-acoustic talent that makes her perfect for doing voice profiling. The two of them form the backbone of the Golden Time team, tasked to solve crimes as fast as possible, while doing some investigating of their own to get justice for their slain family members.
6. Money Flower (2017)
Who else is in it: Park Se Young, Jang Seung Jo, Lee Mi Sook, Lee Soon Jae, Han So Hee
Jang Hyuk got nominated for another Grand Prize award for his role as Kang Pil Joo in this drama. In this tale of greed, everyone knows Pil Joo as Chungah Group’s prized employee and servant, aiding heir Jang Boo Cheon (Seung Jo) in his quest to inherit the company. But what they don’t know is that he’s keeping his real identity hidden because he’s actually here to take revenge. He wants Boo Cheon to fall for teacher Na Mo Hyun (Se Young), but he throws a wrench into his own plans by falling for her instead. Bonus: My Name’s Han So Hee is also in the cast.
7. Wok Of Love (2018)
Who else is in it: 2PM's Lee Jun Ho, Jung Ryeo Won
This rom-com has such a wacky premise we can’t help falling in love with it! Jang Hyuk plays Doo Chil Sung, a reformed gangster who now runs Chinese resto Hungry Wok with his gang members from the Big Dipper. When top chef Seo Poong (Jun Ho) gets fired from his job at a six-star hotel restaurant, he somehow ends up co-owning Hungry Wok. Chaebol heiress Dan Sae Woo (Ryeo Won) also joins the crew after going bankrupt.
8. Tell Me What You Saw (2020)
Who else is in it: SNSD's Sooyoung, Jin Seo Yeon, Jang Hyun Sung, Ryu Seong Soo
Hyuk returns to the crime thriller genre with this OCN drama where he plays genius profiler Oh Hyun Jae. When his fiancée ends up dead while he’s on the trail of a serial killer, he disappears from the police force. But when a new murder with the same modus operandi as the serial killer surfaces five years later, Hyun Jae is back on the case. Hwang Ha Young (Seo Yeon) from the Regional Investigation Unit introduces him to Cha Soo Young (Soo Young), a detective with a photographic memory, and together, they start investigating the serial killer.
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