Known as the “National Son-in-Law” in South Korea, rising star Lee Sang Yi continues to charm viewers with a growing portfolio of K-dramas. He is also part of MSG Wannabe, a ballad-singing supergroup put together on the variety show Hangout With Yoo. Sang Yi’s subgroup, JSDK, has a number two hit on the music charts. Talk about talented! With his handsome looks, smooth voice, and relatable acting, we’re not surprised he’s gaining attention. If you just became a fan, get to know Sang Yi better by watching this list of dramas.
1. Prison Playbook (2017)
In this masterfully executed series from director Shin Won Ho (the same guy behind the Reply series and Hospital Playlist), we follow the lives of prisoners behind bars. Among them is Kim Jae Hyuk (Park Hae Soo), a famous baseball pitcher who lands in jail for assault after saving his sister. One of Jae Hyuk’s cellmates, Jeong Woo (Jung Hae In), is a military officer convicted for the assault of a teammate who eventually died. When his backstory is shown, we find Sang Yi playing Sergeant Oh Dong Hwan, a shady figure who plays a part in Jeong Woo’s conviction.
2. Suits (2018)
Suits is a legal drama centered on newbie lawyer Go Yeon Woo (Park Hyung Sik). His boss, Choi Kang Seok (Jang Dong Gun), is a famous lawyer from the law firm Kang & Ham. He takes a chance and hires Yeon Woo who has a sharp memory despite having no background in law. Yeon Woo has financial problems, and he works hard to prove himself throughout the series. Sang Yi cameos as Chul Soon, a club manager with questionable morals and Yeon Woo’s friend. He orchestrates the series of events that leads Yeon Woo to Kang & Ham.
3. To. Jenny (2018)
This cute mini-drama is perfect for music lovers, and it will leave you smiling like a loon when it ends. To. Jenny tells the story of two youths who find a connection through music. Shy Jung Min (Kim Sung Cheol of Prison Playbook and Vincenzo fame) has stage phobia, but he willingly lends a hand when his high school crush, Na Ra (I.O.I’s Jung Chae Yeon), a girl group member struggling with her career, needs help. Sang Yi adds humor to match the show’s lighthearted mood with his turn as Dae Sung, one of Jung Min’s friends.
4. The Third Charm (2018)
While The Third Charm is marketed as a rom-com, it has a surprisingly realistic approach to relationships, as it questions whether being complete opposites will make a couple eventually fall apart. It stars Seo Kang Joon as Joon Young, a by-the-book routine-loving uni student, who goes on a group blind date, and meets Young Jae (Esom), an impulsive and emotional woman, whose personality clashes with his. Despite their differences, they end up liking each other. Sang Yi plays Joon Young’s best friend, Sang Hyun, who’s a bit of a player in the series.
5. When The Camellia Blooms (2019)
Award-winning drama When The Camellia Blooms set rating records when it aired in 2019. A unique series that combines rom-com elements with a thriller, it revolves around the life of a single mother named Oh Dong Baek (Gong Hyo Jin) who makes waves when she moves to the small town Ongsan and opens a bar. Police officer Hwang Yong Sik (Kang Ha Neul) falls for her and tries to protect her when a killer threatens Dong Baek’s life. Sang Yi plays Yong Sik’s quirky best friend, Seung Yeop, a former baseball player who now coaches a junior high school baseball team.
6. Once Again (2020)
Sang Yi gained the title of “National Son-in-Law” after starring in this 100-episode family drama. It tells the tale of old couple Song Young Dal (Cheon Ho Jin) and Jang Ok Boon (Cha Hwa Yeon) and their four children. Lee Min Jung and Lee Sang Yeob played the main couple, third child Na Hee and her husband Gyu Jin. Sang Yi played Gyu Jin’s younger brother, Jae Seok. His love line with the youngest child, Da Hee (Lee Cho Hee), became much talked about in Korea, and their flawless chemistry earned them the Best Couple award. Sang Yi also got accolades for his acting, including an Excellence award and a Best New Actor award.
7. Youth of May (2020)
Sang Yi went for a period drama next with Youth of May, a melo-romance set against the backdrop of the Gwangju Uprising in the ‘80s, a huge protest against the government led by students and civilians that led to many deaths. The story revolves around breadwinner Myeong Hee (Go Min Si), a nurse who agrees to replace her best friend, Soo Ryeon (Geum Sae Rok), for a blind date. She ends up falling for the date, carefree medical student Hee Tae (Lee Do Hyun), but we know from the time period that the odds are against them from the start. Sang Yi plays Soo Chan, Soo Ryeon’s older brother, a businessman who studied in France. Like Myeong Hee, he’s the breadwinner, and he will put everything on the line for his family.
8. Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (2021)
A healing slice-of-life drama, Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha takes us to the small village of Gongjin, where everybody knows everybody. Hye Jin (Shin Min Ah) is a dentist having difficulty getting hired after she reveals her office’s head dentist has been overcharging patients. She moves to Gongjin where she meets Du Sik (Kim Seon Ho), revered in the village for helping anyone in need. Sang Yi plays second lead guy Seong Hyun, an enthusiastic but work-obsessed variety show producer, who heads to Gongjin in search of inspiration.
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