If you're a fan of the new Netflix drama Thirty Nine, then chances are your hearts have skipped a beat at the sight of the calm, often composed, and gentle Kim Jin Seok. He is played by 41-year-old actor (42 in Korean age) Lee Moo Saeng, whose career in the South Korean entertainment industry began in 2006.
Born on May 10, 1980, Lee Moo Saeng is a Taurus. Taureans are said to be soothing and stoic, and they possess those hither eyes—all of which describe Moo Saeng-oppa quite accurately. He made his debut as an actor in the 2006 film, See You After School, and has since appeared in a variety of shows, both for small and big screens.
Throughout the course of his career, Moo Saeng-oppa has worked quite well with director Ahn Pan Seok. He has appeared in four of Director Ahn's works including the popular 2007 MBC series, Behind The White Tower; JTBC's Secret Affair in 2014, Something In The Rain in 2018, and again with MBC for One Spring Night in 2019.
On a personal note, I've only ever noticed him in Designated Survivor: 60 Days, and boy have I been missing out! I can't believe I've only recently discovered Lee Moo Saeng three years ago, hence tagging him as a new-ish oppa, LOL. But after that introduction, I've been on the lookout for more of his drama since. So if you're eager to show your love for Moo Saeng-oppa by watching his most recent dramas, you're in the right place. Here are seven recent Lee Moo Saeng dramas to add to your to-watch list:
1. The Crowned Clown (2019)
Where you can watch it: Netflix, Viu
With power struggles happening here and there and with the kingdom on the verge of collapse due to an uprising, Lee Hyeon (Yeo Jin Goo), the king of Joseon, installs a clown named Ha Sun to take his place. The clown and the king look so much alike that none could be the wiser. But as the clown settles into his new role, he's proving to be more than just a mere puppet. Cunning and wise, Ha Sun has drummed up alliances and has started to become the kind of leader that his people are looking for. Lee Moo Saeng plays the role of Prince Ji Pyung who is on a mission to topple his uncle, the King. The Crowned Clown is Moo Saeng's first sageuk (historical drama) since his career debut.
2. One Spring Night (2019)
Where you can watch it: Netflix
Librarian Lee Jeong In (Han Ji Min) meets pharmacist Yoo Ji Ho (Jung Hae In) by chance when she needs a cure for her hangover. It is more than just a sale for Ji Ho, though—it is also love at first sight. One Spring Night uncovers the story of two lovers trapped in their own crippling situations and how they have to make uncomfortable decisions to fight for the love that has started to grow between them. In this drama, Moo Saeng plays the role of Nam Si Hoon, the abusive husband of Jeong In's older sister, announcer Lee Seo In. In a wrap-up interview for the show, he described Si Hoon as an intolerable character who he has learned a lot from.
3. Designated Survivor: 60 Days (2019)
Where you can watch it: Netflix
This drama is adapted from the American political thriller of the same name. When a terrorist act strikes the country that kills the president and many high-ranking government officials during the State of the Union address, the inexperienced Minister of Environment, Park Moo Jin (Ji Jin Hee) suddenly finds himself thrusted to the highest position on the land. Lee Moo Saeng plays the role of North Korean defector Kim Nam Wook, who serves as Acting Press Secretary for the new administration. Together with the rest of Park Moo Jin's staff, they chase after those responsible for the explosion and deal with another murky water that is South Korean politics.
4. Melting Me Softly (2019)
Where you can watch it: Viu
When a cryogenic experiment fails, Ma Dong Chan (Ji Chang Wook) and Ko Mi Ran (Won Jin Ah) find themselves waking up 20 years later rather than what was supposedly just 24 hours. The story follows the two as they try to make up for lost time, all while ensuring that they maintain their body temperature to ensure their survival. Here Lee Moo Saeng plays the role of Jo Ki Beom, the assistant to professor Hwang Kap Soo who is supposedly the brains behind the experiment but has lost his memory since the accident. Will he be able to help the professor regain his memory?
5. A World Of Married Couple (2019)
Where you can watch: Netflix, Viu
A World Of Married Couple, adapted from BBC drama Doctor Forster, follows the story of Ji Sun Woo (Kim Hee Ae), an esteemed family medicine doctor in the town of Gosan. She has a successful career and a happy family until one party changes their lives forever. Sun Woo learns that her husband is having an affair with a younger woman. Adding salt to injury is that those she considers friends and colleagues know about it but chose to keep it a secret from her. She has no one on her side except her new colleague, Kim Yoon Ki, played by Lee Moo Saeng. Yoon Ki, a divorcee himself, has a crush on Sun Woo and helps her get her revenge. But will she win? Will Sun Woo and Yoon Ki end up together?
This is perhaps Moo Saeng's most popular role to date, so much so that he earned the nickname "Loo Moo Saeng-Laurent." A mix of his name and the designer label Yves Saint Laurent, fans gave him the nickname since he’s one character that has a brand-name quality personality, one netizen said.
6. The Silent Sea (2021)
Where you can watch: Netflix
Set in the future, Earth is suffering from severe desertification. Food is drying up and people also have to deal with water rationing. The South Korean administration sets up a team of scientists, doctors, and soldiers for the space agency (including Chief Gong Soo Hyuk, head of the security team, played by Lee Moo Saeng) to go to the abandoned research station on the moon called Balhae. They are tasked to retrieve a mysterious sample that they hope would bring the desertification to an end. But more than the arduous outer space mission, they realize that there is more to uncover at Balhae, a mysterious creature is lurking at the station, and someone from the team isn’t who they seem to be.
7. Thirty-Nine (2022)
Where you can watch: Netflix
Thirty-Nine follows the story of three best friends, Cha Mi Jo (Son Ye Jin), Jeong Chan Young (Jeon Mi Do), and Jang Joo Hee (Kim Ji Hyun). The three share a long history and they all have one thing in common: They are all one year away from the big four-oh. The drama explores the ups and downs of adulthood at this stage. The girls muse about their careers, regrets, goals, fears, love, and, most of all, loss. Lee Moo Saeng is Kim Jin Seok, the wealthy daepyonim (CEO or representative) of Champ Entertainment. He is friends first with Mi Jo but meets Chan Young by chance and has had a long and complicated relationship with her since then.
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