With “Again My Life” now wrapped up, there’s no better time than to revisit Lee Joon Gi’s past hits to fill that drama-sized hole in your weekend.
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From anti-hero kings to cocky lawyers to scholar vampires, Lee Joon Gi has done it all, such that there’s something for everyone to enjoy. He’s equally known for sageuks and contemporary dramas, romances, and thrillers, even dabbling in horror at times. Without further ado, here is a list of his dramas that will steal your heart!
1. “Scarlet Heart: Goryeo”
This show took the drama world by storm in 2017 and gained both Lee Joon Gi and IU legions of fans. It’s the classic story of a modern woman named Go Ha Jin (IU) who gets transported back in time during a solar eclipse. She wakes during the Goryeo Dynasty in the body of a girl named Hae Soo. There, she befriends the numerous, eccentric princes of the house of King Taejo. The brothers are all very different. The tenderhearted eighth prince Wang Wook (Kang Ha Neul) is Prince Charming personified, but there’s something about the notoriously cruel fourth prince Wang So (Lee Joon Gi) that terrifies and fascinates Hae Soo. Before long, she finds herself embroiled in palace scandal and politics as she unwittingly becomes a pawn in an ongoing fight for the throne where the brother she chooses could save the kingdom or doom it.
Why you’ll love it: Lee Joon Gi and IU’s chemistry is off-the-charts in this show. Wang So is one of the most unhinged characters Lee Joon Gi has played, while Hae Soo grows from terrified woman to weary palace maid, but their relationship just works. It’s a testament to how good these two are together that fans still clamor for a sequel and wish that that ending had been released. It’s definitely a must-watch!
2. “Scholar Who Walks the Night”
Kim Sung Yeol (Lee Joon Gi) is a scholar of repute and best buddies with Crown Prince Jung Hyun (Lee Hyun Woo). The story opens with the two realizing that something is very wrong in the land of Joseon. The vampire Gwi (Lee Soo Hyuk at his best) controls the royal palace virtue of a dangerous deal made by the Crown Prince’s father. The deal? That Gwi rules in the shadows in return for the royal family retaining their power (among other things). When Sung Yeol’s attempt to take down Gwi results in devastating consequences, he disappears, turned into a vampire against his will. With only a magical black cloak that allows him to withstand sunlight, he spends the ensuing century determined to find the Crown Prince’s book that holds the key to defeating Gwi.
100 years later, a new Crown Prince named Lee Yoon (TVXQ’s Changmin) is on the throne. Sung Yeol works from the shadows still trying to find that book. His quest takes him to the bookseller Jo Yang Sun (Lee Yoo Bi), a girl masquerading as a man because of the patriarchal attitude towards women. Just like Hong Chun Gi (Kim Yoo Jung) in “Lovers of the Red Sky,” Yang Sun understands what it means to face discrimination due to gender. An expert at finding rare books, she agrees to hunt for the book. But Gwi hasn’t been doing nothing these past 100 years either, and he’s just found a juicy new target.
Why you’ll love it: Vampire Lee Joon Gi? Yes please! This drama isn’t perfect, but there’s something about Lee Joon Gi in fangs and going to town on bad guys that’s hard to look away from. How could anyone say no to that?
3. “Tale of Arang”
Gods, ghosts, and vanished mothers collide in this spooky tale of love. Arang (Shin Min Ah) is an amnesiac ghost who spends her days hiding from Moo Young, the Grim Reaper (Han Jung Soo), and stealing food from memorials to survive. This changes when she runs into Eun Oh (Lee Joon Gi), the hotheaded illegitimate child of a noble who’s hunting for his missing mother. Eun Oh forges an unlikely alliance with Arang after discovering that her binyeo (hairpin) is the same one he gave to his mother. Realizing that the truth of Arang’s death is tied to his mother’s disappearance, the two hunt down her killer in a sleepy town where girls vanish every month, and the murderer is undoubtedly supernatural.
Why you’ll love it: Arang is no shrinking violet. This girl is feisty, opinionated, and has a sharp tongue to boot. It’s equal parts hilarious and heartwarming to watch these two bicker their way into romance. Shin Min Ah’s performance really shines here, and Lee Joon Gi plays the straight man to her wild, spunky ghost.
Eun Oh is actually the most toned down of Lee Joon Gi’s roles. Arang’s the flashy one, so he wearily endures her wildness while falling for the ghost anyway. Eun Oh is hard at times to the point of unreasonableness and has a massive chip on his shoulder when it comes to his social status. But he’s a real charmer when he falls, and Lee Joon Gi bringing his A game with chemistry is always a pleasure to watch!
4. “Lawless Lawyer”
Before “Again My Life,” Lee Joon Gi was a lawyer instead of a prosecutor in “Lawless Lawyer.” Bong Sang Pil (Lee Joon Gi) is an ace lawyer with a high success streak and a distaste for power. The reason? As a child, he witnessed his mother being murdered by a gang boss in the employ of the town’s most prolific judge. Barely escaping with his life intact, Sang Pil has spent 18 years training with his uncle, a rival gang boss, vowing revenge on those responsible. Enter Ha Jae Yi (Seo Ye Ji), a lawyer who just had her license suspended for beating up a corrupt judge in court. Upon returning to the small town where her mother went missing years ago, she’s recruited by Sang Pil who seems to know something about her mother’s disappearance. Together, they fight to take down the vermin of the city.
Why you’ll love it: Sang Pil is one of Lee Joon Gi’s best roles. Alternating between sardonic and cunning as well as being useful in a fight, he’s the epitome of lawless. Just look at that casual cockiness. It’s just the right level of attractive. It’s fun as opposed to rude and arrogant. And as always, you know that Lee Joon Gi’s doing his own stunts so the fight scenes are impeccable! If you liked “Again My Life,” you’ll absolutely love this one!
5. “Flower of Evil”
After spending so much time chasing after bad guys, Lee Joon Gi challenged himself with something a little different: being on the wrong side of the law and playing one half of a married couple. In “Flower of Evil,” Bae Hee Sung (Lee Joon Gi) isn’t a hotshot lawyer or vampire but a metalsmith who runs his own studio next to the home he shares with his wife and daughter. He’s a househusband, taking care of meals and picking up his child while his brilliant wife Cha Ji Won (Moon Chae Won) fights crime everyday. He’s perfect. Perhaps a little too perfect because Hee Sung’s keeping secrets. Dangerous ones. These secrets involve murder, evil, and a past he would rather his sweet wife never learns of. But the truth has a way of coming out and when Ji Won’s latest investigation is reminiscent of a series of murders committed over a decade ago, she vows to bring the killer to justice. But what if the man she’s after is the man she comes home to every night?
Why you’ll love it: When does Lee Joon Gi not have chemistry with his co-stars? The man could romance a rock. But he’s at his very best here in a cat and mouse game with the amazing Moon Chae Won as his wife. This drama’s got it all: some thrills, some chills, Lee Joon Gi running the gamut on every emotion possible, and enough sweet moments to ease our hearts. A solid 10/10!