Sick of typical Korean romantic comedies? Need a cure for your unforeseen K-entertainment hiatus? Want to heal that heart your oppa has broken? Start binge-watching these highly entertaining medical Korean dramas! They're the perfect transitions to K-dramas, too, if you love medical TV series like Grey's Anatomy and E.R.
1. Good Doctor (2013)
What if exceptional operating room skills get discovered in an individual with special needs? Will he be given a chance to use his talent as a surgeon? This is exactly the dilemma that the character notably portrayed by Yong Pal actor Joo Won gets sewed into. His title role was an autistic savant who trains to be a pediatrician and encounters conflicts with colleagues and patients alike. The story was so inspiring that ABC remade the series into an American drama—that's on top of remakes in China, Thailand, and Japan.
2. Emergency Couple (2014)
Running Man and Princess Hours star Song Ji Hyo plays the role of a divorcee trying to turn her life around by pursuing a career in medicine. Unfortunately, her ex-husband, played by Choi Jin Hyuk (The Heirs and The Last Empress), unwittingly decides to do the same and ends up in the same medical internship program as her. Their fates become entangled once more after their messy breakup, and it makes their lives so much more colorful, albeit crazy.
3. Doctor Stranger (2014)
Like W: Two Worlds and While You Were Sleeping, this Lee Jong Suk K-drama serves some serious suspense…and squeal-worthy kilig. His character, named Park Hoon, is a North Korean doctor refugee with a godly mind and deft hands for surgery. He assimilates into Seoul with spies and his own lies getting him into all sorts of trouble. Spoiler alert: He charms his way into the hearts of three ladies in this series with gorgeous actresses Jin Se Yeon (Grand Prince), Kang So Ra (Revolutionary Love), and Sistar's Bora.
4. It's Okay, That's Love (2014)
Anyone who's watched this series knows that it set the bar high for rom-com K-dramas tackling mental illness. Gong Hyo Jin and Jo In Sung, who play a psychiatrist and a writer respectively, are both flawed due to the ghosts of their past lives. They try to overcome their struggles and support each other despite their murky backgrounds. Aside from the stellar lead couple, you'll adore the characters played by Lee Kwang Soo, Lee Sung Kyung, and one of the most famous K-drama dads ever, Sung Dong Il.
5. Kill Me, Heal Me (2015)
Here's another drama that centers on a psychiatric condition. This time, veteran actor Ji Sung plays a chaebol (corporate heir) afflicted with a split-personality disorder. Hwang Jung Eum (She Was Pretty) fatefully encounters him, while her brother played by Park Seo Joon (What's Wrong With Secretary Kim and She Was Pretty) writes a story parallel to his life. If you've been following K-drama fan pages, you've probably come across an epic scene where one of Ji Sung's alternate personalities treats Park Seo Joon's character as his oppa (boyfriend—not older brother). This series is so fun to watch—don't miss out!
6. Yong Pal (2015)
Joo Won's second K-drama in this list is filled with edgy themes and action-packed plot twists. It's also been raved about for the romance and revenge plots throughout the story. Joo Won plays a skilled physician (with Yong Pal as his alias) who treats criminals and other shady characters. He ends up joining a band of doctors who rescue a corporate heiress, played by Kim Tae Hee from Stairway To Heaven and My Princess, in a medically induced coma.
7. Doctors (2016)
The drama stars Park Shin Hye as a tough, reckless girl who goes from troubled teenager to compassionate doctor, with Kim Rae Won as her charming and patient mentor. Naturally, it's not an instant transformation, and you'll root for how the heroine strives in pursuing her career. Lee Sung Kyung's and Yoon Kyun Sang's characters make the love square complicated with their ambitions and attractions to the lead couple.
8. Descendants Of The Sun (2016)
It's got a reel-to-real couple with fiery chemistry, a badass female lead with an M.D., shirtless oppas, North Korean spies, epic second leads, and a healthy dose of exciting plot twists. Starring Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo, DOTS has almost everything you could ever hope for in an action-packed yet kilig medical drama. The drama has amassed so many fans in the country, and it's perfect for beginners and binge-rewatchers alike.
9. Hospital Ship (2017)
Unlike most of the other medical Korean dramas on this list, this one largely takes place not in a traditional hospital setting but on a ship. The doctors, including the immensely talented female surgeon played by Ha Ji Won, provide medical care to rural villages in remote islands. She maintains a cold exterior and rarely shows weakness, unlike a cheerful co-doctor played by CNBLUE's Kang Min Hyuk.
10. Life (2018)
After his adorable role in Goblin and before his likewise attractive character in Touch Your Heart, Lee Dong Wook starred in this JTBC and Netflix series. He played the role of a patient-first emergency room doctor who butts heads with the hospital's profits-first president. In the drama, you won't only see life-and-death medical cases and patient stories that tug at your heartstrings, but also the realities of running a hospital, such as employment issues and tough management decisions.
11. Dae Jang Geum (2004)
Widely known as Jewel In The Palace in the Philippines, Dae Jang Geum is one of the OG dramas that got Pinoys hooked on Koreanovelas. The period drama stars Lee Young Ae and was based on a true story of Joseon Dynasty's first female royal physician (named Jang Geum IRL). The 54-episodes long story is a beautiful depiction of perseverance.
12. Dr. Romantic Seasons 1 and 2 (2016 and 2020)
~Romantic doctor~ Teacher Kim (Han Seok Kyu), who was once a top surgeon at one of the best medical centers in Seoul, now works at *tiny* Doldam Hospital. He meets several young doctors whose lives and careers change because of him. (P.S. A Pinay actress even had a special role in Season 2!)
13. Hospital Playlist (2020)
Five doctors who have been friends since med school end up working together in one hospital. Get this: They're also part of a band. In this drama, we get to see what they're up to when they're not working at Yulje Medical Center, learn about their patients' *heartbreaking* stories, and root for their individual love lives!
You can stream these K-dramas on Viu, iflix, and Netflix, or watch their dubbed versions on channels like Jeepney TV.
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