If you’ve been staying away from Korean shows because love stories aren’t your thing or if all you’ve been watching are romance-driven series, you’ve been missing out. “Squid Game” isn’t a fluke—while K-dramas are great at bringing hugot and kilig to audiences, there’s also no shortage of great titles that are light on or even completely devoid of romance.
Here are ten of our favorites:
“Little Women” (2022)
Stars: Kim Go-eun, Nam Ji-hyun and Park Ji-hu
The story: Three poor but strong-willed sisters—an accountant, a journalist and a young artist—get entangled with a wealthy and powerful family in what becomes a fight for their survival.
Watch it for: The satisfying way the mystery and the connections unfold. Watch it too for Uhm Ji-won’s portrayal of Won Sang-a. You’ll find it hard to keep your eyes off her.
“Move to Heaven” (2021)
Stars: Lee Je-hoon, Tang Joon-sang, Hong Seung-hee, Ji Jin-hee
The story: A young man with autism runs a trauma cleaning service with his father. When his father dies unexpectedly, he has to work with an uncle he has never met before—an uncle who just got out of prison.
Watch it for: The beautiful cinematography and the touching story. This show is a must-watch.
“Taxi Driver” (2021)
Stars: Lee Je-hoon, Kang Ha-na, Kim Eui-sung, Pyo Ye-jin
The story: This deluxe taxi offers a service you can’t get anywhere else—vengeance for the desperate and the downtrodden. Watch it for: The excitement, the action, the satisfaction of revenge, the crimes that are ripped from the headlines and the different roles Lee Je-hoon gets to play (the Chinese Korean gangster Wang Tao Zi is our favorite). This show is so good, season two just came out and it’s already been renewed for a third season.
“Extraordinary Attorney Woo” (2022)
Stars: Park Eun-bin, Kang Tae-oh, Kang Ki-young
The story: A lawyer with autism finds her footing in the legal world.
Watch it for: Park Eun-bin’s portrayal of Attorney Woo, the stories of the different clients, the lovely relationships that develop in the series (fine, there’s a little romance here) and the whales. Ooh, watch it for the whales. The first season was so successful that it’s been greenlit for season two. We can’t wait.
“Beyond Evil” (2021)
Stars: Shin Ha-kyun, Yeo Jin-goo
The story: Two police officers—the son of a powerful official and a former murder suspect—become unlikely partners in a small town still haunted by unsolved serial killings.
Watch it for: The incredible acting. Shin Ha-kyun is a master—his smile alone gives us the creeps. Plus this is a story that will keep you guessing.
Stars: Lee Je-hoon (is it obvious we’re fans yet?), Kim Hye-soo, Cho Jin-woong
The story: A criminal profiler and detective communicate via walkie-talkie and work together to solve crimes. The twist? One of them is living in 2015 while the other is in 1989.
Watch it for: The interesting cases, the frustrating battle against corruption and the friendship that develops between Hae-young and Jae-han.
“Strangers From Hell” (2019, also known as “Hell Is Other People”)
Stars: Im Si-wan, Lee Dong-wook
The story: A young man gets a job in Seoul, moves into cheap housing and ends up with really weird neighbors.
Watch it for: The creepiness of it all.
“The Glory” (2022)
Stars: Song Hye-kyo, Lim Ji-hyeon, Lee Do-hyun
The story: A girl who was tormented in school dedicates her adult life to carrying out revenge against her former bullies. Watch it for: The gratification of watching the underdog succeed in her desire for retaliation.
“Sky Castle” (2018)
Stars: Yum Jung-ah, Lee Tae-ran, Yun Se-ah, Oh Na-ra, Kim Seo-hyeong
The story: The rich families of doctors and professors live in Sky Castle, a place where children are expected to succeed and make their parents proud, sometimes at all costs.
Watch it for: So many characters you’d love to hate. This satirical drama is shocking and entertaining. It will make you grateful that you’re done with school (if you are).
Stars: Lee Seung-gi, Lee Hee-jun, Park Ju-hyun, Kyung Soo-jin
The story: This exciting drama explores this question: What if psychopathic tendencies can be predicted while a baby is still in the womb?
Watch it for: The suspense, the mystery, the twists and turns. Watch the 2021 spin-off too.