Top 10 Best Chiller-Thriller and Crime Korean Dramas

Many people generally think K-dramas are all about romance and nothing more. We all know how potent Korean romance is, and getting dizzy over feelings is a common criterion for all K-drama lovers.

However, there are dramas that touch your soul while you're watching them. Let me remind you that these intense emotions don't always revolve solely around romance.
The Top Ten
1 Gap

Even though it's a common police procedural drama that messes with your psychology, it is so much more than that once you advance through the episodes. There were moments when I literally shook. There were also moments when I shut down my computer and couldn't watch another episode until I had recovered.

Lee Joon, being an idol actor, took absolute control and amazed many drama fans, even shocking them. An absolutely amazing drama. And let's not forget the killer OST that just triggers your emotions.

2 Nine: Nine Times Travel

Another TvN drama that I couldn't resist putting up. It might not fall strictly under the thriller genre, but it will thrill you, no doubt. When you add a famous news reporter who's dying and a few incense sticks that help him travel back in time, drama ensues. A man sets out to make amends to his life through this unconventional time travel method.

However, the changes are devastating, and as you proceed through the episodes, you realize there's a lot of crime involved. I wouldn't call it an exact crime drama, but it gave me chills and is probably one of the best out there.

3 Signal

Yes, I agree, Signal is excellent. When I was new to Korean drama, I searched for "top ten Korean dramas" on Google. Although it ranked fourth or fifth on some lists, the reviews were all glowing.

The main concept is that two detectives, one from the past and one from the present, work together to solve cases that may relate to themselves or their peers.

After watching it, I found that the reviews were accurate. If you've seen episode one, it's hard to deny its appeal. The acting is some of the best I've seen, not just in Korean dramas but in TV in general. Signal definitely sparked my interest in Korean dramas and movies.

4 City Hunter

Okay, first of all, I'll be honest - getting a grip on this from the first episode was hard for me. It involves marines, political conspiracy, and lots of grudges. A surviving soldier and a stolen child that he raised as a weapon of revenge combined is not your average mac and cheese.

This series drained me when I watched it, made me lose my breath a couple of times, was fun, was fresh, and was oh-so-thrilling at times. And as a bonus, it's not every day you see Lee Min Ho as an undercover vigilante and revenge-seeker on screen. A beautiful watch.

5 I Hear Your Voice

I could easily put most of Lee Jong-Suk's dramas on my list because I am biased towards him, but this drama stood out to me. A combination of a dreadful incident, promises, crime, and fright all brought into a courtroom drama is what I needed in my life. Did I mention the ability to read minds? He hears everyone's voice, from the depth of their souls. He even hears the minds of his most hated and most loved people. I love this drama so much that I don't even know where to put it on my list, so I'm just leaving it here.

It's one of the best dramas I've ever watched. There's enough romance and thriller to keep you hooked. Lee Jong Suk, as usual, is perfect. He was excellent.

6 The Devil

This is a classic. Not really. It's a 2007 drama revolving around a tarot-card reader with specific psychic abilities, a mysterious lawyer, and a detective with regrets of his own. As usual, all these fine people are interconnected through a past occurrence.

I loved this drama. I loved watching it, the chills it gave me, and the tears I shed for it. My love for this plot and drama would probably explain why it still exists on my list after eight years.

I had very few expectations when I started this, but the drama really did surprise me. I don't think I have ever felt as much sympathy for the bad guy as I did in this. The drama questions the very nature of being bad. Who is the devil? Is the good guy really good? Is the bad guy really bad? These questions filled my head as I watched.

7 I Miss You

Don't you just hate those dramas that drive you crazy with emotions and unbearable scenes from the first episode? No, you've got to love them - at least, you've got to love I Miss You.

It's a story of two children where the boy abandons the girl to the mercy of kidnappers. Watching this requires a lot of emotional strength, and I needed it. At first, it's a heart-wrenching crime story, but it quickly becomes a thriller as the boy becomes a dedicated detective to atone for his mistake and promises to find the friend he abandoned.

With Yoon Seung-ho antagonizing JYJ's Mickey in the lead, you don't need any other reason to watch this.

8 Golden Cross

I still haven't seen this and am basically referring to the thoughts and ratings of fans, trailers, and the general plot. A prosecutor gets entangled in messy business with the most influential people in Korea. He has to go against this certain circle of people to clear his father's name after he is accused of murdering his sister. From the sounds of it, it's going to be extremely awesome, and I want to watch it as soon as possible. Maybe it will go way up my list after I do.

It is the best show when it comes to crime dramas. I love it. It requires concentration, and I'm still looking for many more like it.

9 Voice

Loved this thriller from the very first episode. There was a lot of suspense and mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way. Excellent acting all around. I didn't care for the last episode. I felt it was creepy and weird and didn't end the way I would have liked. Perhaps it was fitting for this drama.

I could not stop watching, wanting to know what happened next. It just sucked me in! Great drama!

The character that pulled me in was the villain. His performance, showing ecstasy and joy in his style of killing, captivated me. Not just that, but when you think they have found the killer, it's not who you expected it to be.

The final end credit made me feel remorse because it is based on real cases. Overall, I was hooked from the very first episode and binge-watched it until the last.

10 Healer

This is by far the best thriller drama I have ever seen. The plot twists are woven so well, and Ji Chang-wook is full of charm. The cast lived up to the expectations of a thriller drama lover. This definitely makes you fall in love with the actors, encouraging you to watch it again.

The Best Drama Ever (or Best Thrilling Drama ever). It's a blend of emotions with a gripping mystery, superb acting, and many unexpected twists. The supporting actors have significant roles and are as crucial to the story as the main actors. This is action-romance-thriller at its finest.

The ending is a surprise you wouldn't have anticipated.

Watch it without doubting its greatness. It's a masterpiece in almost every way. You may find the first half of the first episode a little confusing, but bear with it.

The OST is fantastic, with chilling and beautiful English vocals. You'll find yourself revisiting the drama even years later through its incredible soundtracks.

There isn't a dull moment in the series, so you might end up marathoning it in a few days. Make sure to clear some time before watching it.

The Contenders
11 Tunnel

Seriously, what a plot! I'm amazed by the actors, background OST, twists, trust, love, and stories. They're all perfect together. I'm in love. This is the best Korean drama I've ever seen. It taught me a lot and still teaches me. Thank you, Tunnel family, from the bottom of my heart.

After watching Signal and Voice, I continued with Tunnel and it turned out great. Perfect. If I could list my top five crime dramas, they would be Tunnel, Signal, Voice, I Hear Your Voice, and War of the Sun. All of them will never bore you.

I highly recommend this drama to anyone interested in crime/mystery shows. It's a must-watch. The cases are so interesting. Plus, two instances where BTS's Fire and Save Me were playing in the show made me like it even more since I'm an ARMY. I give this K-drama a 9/10!

12 Defendant

This actually should be first! The whole plot is great! I needed paper to crumple while watching this because you'd grit your teeth due to the tension happening. I love this!

Highly recommended. This has to be the most loved drama of 2017. Ji Sung proved he is still the number one actor on my list. Great performances from all the other cast members, but the lead was electrifying.

Wow, it's so good. I am amazed. Such a great and unique storyline. It will keep you from taking deep breaths and wrench your heart at the same time. Just great!

13 I Remember You

This drama is something I would recommend to people who are new to Korean dramas or existing fans. It is also family-driven, focused on a father and two brothers. The plot and performances were top-notch. I did not expect much, but it blew my mind with the twists and turns. The story runs smoothly and was not confusing despite the amount of information needed to make sense of the story.

Although romance was not a focal point, the tiny bit of it will make you fall in love with the two leads. Overall, this is a drama to watch if you are a fan of police procedural genres and crime dramas.

14 Bad Guys

Criminals solving cases while learning along the way what it truly means to be human and the difference between a man and a beast. But that isn't all because somehow, these criminals and the squad leader "Mad Dog" are linked, and it's only a matter of time before the truth is unraveled - not before a series of misunderstandings occurs and chaos ensues.

Loved the drama. The more I watched, the more enthralled I became. You know the acting is good when you feel both sympathy and hatred for fictional characters.

15 Partners for Justice

This series is full of crime scenes, including many autopsies. You'll learn so many new things through this drama. Each death is unique, so you definitely won't be bored. Let me just say, the second season is even more captivating, and there's a new character who's honestly very attractive. His backstory is also fascinating, and his voice is really nice.

No spoilers here, but this drama is absolutely worth watching. I usually prefer romance, but this caught my eye, and I wasn't bored for a moment. I finished both seasons in just a few days. I'm hoping for a third season because I can't wait!

16 Stranger

Amazing drama. I didn't dislike a single thing, and that's a lot to say because I'm really picky. I even liked Stranger more than Signal. From the first to the last episode, it never gets boring, and everything develops at the perfect pace.

Great characters, plot, and actors (literally not a single bad actor in this drama). It has a psychological aspect, which I love, and the two female leads are kickass, not the useless idiots of most K-dramas.

I believe Stranger should be at the top of this list.

This is one of the best suspense-crime Korean dramas I have ever watched. Everyone plays their roles and characters very well, especially the lead actor, Cho Seung-woo, who plays Hwang Shi-mok, a prosecutor of high integrity who can't feel any emotion. The plot and storyline are also great. I really recommend this drama.

17 Doctor Stranger

It took an emotional toll and is very heavy. However, the story is incredible and kept me interested until the ending credits.

It's quite a heavy drama but definitely a must-watch.

18 Heartless City

This is one of the best dramas in the crime noir theme! It's really profound, with great plot twists and wonderful actors. It puts you on the edge of your seat in every episode.

Honestly, this is one of the best dramas I've watched. It had a consistent plot and theme that lasted until the very end. It's definitely one of my top five.

It's an amazing drama. My favorite character in this was Jung Shi-Hyun.

19 Remember: War of the Son

I recommend this K-drama as it has intense scenes about the law. Don't expect love scenes because this reflects the reality of society and government today. This is my favorite K-drama so far. You will learn about the law, being fair to accused people, and how money is involved.

I love this drama so much! The story itself is just amazing, and with these great actors, it's perfect! I can wholeheartedly recommend it!

This K-drama definitely intensifies each scene. You should watch this drama that explores the law and the victim.

20 The K2

This show is intense and so good that you can't stop watching. I highly recommend it, especially the action scenes with the OST. Props to all the actors and actresses - they did an amazing job.

I loved it. I've seen it three times already! It's a good watch with nice twists. The lead actor did a great job. The action scenes were amazing. Even the bad guys look dapper!

21 White Christmas

I just finished watching this drama, and I have no words to describe how brilliantly the storyline was crafted. Every episode makes you more curious about what could happen next. It's very unpredictable and unique. All the actors did justice to their roles. It's a must-watch for all thrill lovers.

Amazing! White Christmas was brilliantly written. It has a lot going on: dark mystery, thriller, rites of passage, and much more. While it has plot twists and a good story, it also depicts the whole incident through a beautiful perspective on humanity. I cannot recommend it enough!

22 Two Weeks

Here's another amazing plot that I haven't fully seen. What am I doing with my life? But according to thriller lovers, this one is a must-watch. Its plot revolves around a man accused of murder who has to save his dying daughter before it's too late. I can only imagine the number of times I'll have to shut my computer down for this.

Yeah, what an amazing plot! I'm grateful to the Two Weeks team for giving me the chance to watch such an incredible drama.

This is a must-watch! I watched all the episodes in one go from 10 a.m. till 3 a.m. non-stop.

23 God's Gift: 14 Days

One of my favorite dramas. The last episode really left me speechless. This drama is about a mom who lost her daughter and has a chance to travel back to two weeks before her daughter died. With a private detective who also travels back in time, she does everything she can to find out who will kidnap her daughter and why.

After watching two episodes, I didn't have high expectations for this drama and almost decided not to watch the remaining episodes. However, the suspense started from the third episode, and I couldn't stop watching it after that, haha. I really love how the actors and actresses portray their characters and roles.

24 38 Revenue Collection Unit (Squad 38)

When I decided to take a break from typical Korean drama (romance, chaebol, etc.) and gave this a try, it didn't disappoint me at all. Now, I can't move on! This drama was so good and entertaining. Every actor gave their best, and the plot was fascinating. You guys should watch this!

This is one of the best dramas I've ever watched. The team chemistry is so good it's almost unreal. I really liked the story and the cast. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who'd listen.

I really couldn't get into this and was most disappointed. I gave up around episode five. The main chief really annoyed me. He was slow, overweight, and dim-witted. The young conman was cheesy and arrogant, not to mention he kept getting caught.

25 Vampire Prosecutor

This is the most awesome drama I have ever seen. However, the ending of the second season was completely unsatisfying. It hinted at a third season, but it was never released. Overall, it's an awesome drama.

It's an awesome drama. I loved it even more than Vampire Detective. A third season is definitely required. The acting and plot are superb.

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