#KajoPicks: 10 South Korean fantasy-crime dramas you need to watch
Your usual crime drama would be more thrilling if it has a dose of fantasy in it. So here are ten South Korean fantasy-crime dramas you need to watch:
1. Signal (2016)
Kicking off this list is a Korean fantasy crime drama which is inspired by real-life criminal cases in South Korea.
Signal is a police procedural fantasy series starring Lee Je-hoon, Kim Hye-soo and Cho Jin-woong.
It follows the story of criminal profiler Park Hae-young who picks up a mysterious walkie-talkie in 2015. The device allows him to communicate with Detective Lee Jae-han who is actually in 1989.
This unusual communication allows Hae-young and Jae-han not only solve crimes but prevent them from ever taking place.
The series was a hit when it premiered thanks to its storyline and performances.
Today, it remains as one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in cable television history.
2. Tunnel (2017)
Inspired by the infamous Hwaseong serial killer, this Korean fantasy-crime drama was a hit in China.
It follows the story of Park Gwang-ho who is a successful detective in 1986. His life turns upside down when he chases a suspect of a serial homicide case through a tunnel.
Gwang-ho finds himself time-travels 30 years into the future in 2016 where the serial killer is still killing.
In the present time, Gwang-ho need to work with his new partner Kim Seon-jae (Yoon Hyun-min) in order to catch the killer.
3. Cheo Yong (2014)
What better way to solve crimes other than with the help from ghosts?
Yoon Cheo-yong (Oh Ji-ho) is a police detective who can see and communicate with ghosts. When his family and partner are killed in a tragic accident, he lets his career go downhill. From an elite detective in the violent crimes unit, Cheo-yong become a lowly district cop over the next seven years.
One day, a ghost of a high school girl named Han Na-young (Jun Hyo-seong) keeps on haunting Cheo-yong. After much annoyance from Na-young, Cheo-yong begins to talk to the dead and people around him again.
With the help of his new partner Ha Sun-woo (Oh Ji-eun) and Na-young, he delves into solving criminal cases that no one can solve.
Of course, he is able to do that using his ability to communicate with ghosts.
4. Sketch (2018)
This Korean fantasy-crime drama follows a small-scale secret group under the National Police Agency called Nabi Project Team.
The group is named after the Arabic word ‘Nabi’ meaning prophet because there is one ‘prophet’ in the team.
Yoo Shi-hyun (Lee Sun-bin) is a detective who has the psychic ability to sketch out drawings of what will happen three days in the future.
When Detective Kang Dong-soo’s (Rain) fiancee is killed mysteriously, he works with Shi-hyun to catch the killer.
Apparently, their task is not easy since the culprit is a member of Republic Of Korea Army Special Warfare Command named Kim Do-jin (Lee Dong-gun).
Just like Dong-soo, Do-jin is driven by revenge, avenging for the death of his wife.
5. Abyss (2019)
If you died unjustly, it is a natural thing to do to find your cause of death once you are reincarnated.
Go Se-yeon is a beautiful prosecution lawyer and her friend Cha Min is an unattractive but rich chaebol.
One day, they both died in separate incidents and get reincarnated into bodies which reflect their souls.
Se-yeon takes on a plainer appearance compared to her previous life while Cha Min becomes very handsome and attractive.
The duo start to find out the reason behind their reincarnations and Se-yeon’s cause of death.
6. He is Psychometric (2019)
Have you ever doubted the acting abilities of K-pop idols? There are two K-pop idols starring in this Korean fantasy-crime drama and they really proved that they can act.
Park Jin-young is member of GOT7 and Kim Da-som was a former K-pop singer from the group Sistar.
Jin-young plays the role of Lee Ahn who acquires the power of psychometry after losing his parents in a fire.
He is able to read a person or an object’s past through physical contact. Lee Ahn is determined to use his ability to catch criminal.
Those who believed in his ability are his foster guardian/prosecutor Kang Sung-mo (Kim Kwon) and friend/detective Eun Ji-soo played by Da-som.
Like many of the dramas on this list, it has light-hearted and easygoing beginning before the story takes more on a serious tone.
So you might catch yourself laughing in the first few episodes before those laughter turn into tears later in the series.
7. Train (2020)
How far would you go to solve a crime? For detective Seo Do-won (Yoon Shi-yoon), he is willing to move between two parallel universes.
In universe ‘A’, Do-won is a hardworking detective who always get the job done. Everything changes when the woman he loves becomes a victim of a serial killer.
In pursue of the killer, he is now moving between universe ‘A’ and universe ‘B’.
The problem is in universe ‘B’, Do-won is a corrupted senior police inspector.
However, his deceased love is very much alive in this universe. Do-won is now on a mission to track down her killer in one universe while protecting her in another.
8. Memorist (2020)
Based on the webtoon of the same name by Jae Hoo, the Korean fantasy-crime dram stars Yoo Seung-ho, Lee Se-young and Jo Sung-ho.
When Dong Baek (Yoo Seung-ho) was a high school student, he suddenly gained a power to read a person’s memory by touching that person.
Fast forward to his adulthood, Dong Baek is now a police detective. He uses his power to catch criminals and solve cases.
He then encounters a series of mysterious murders. This time, he needs to team up with criminal profiler Han Sun-mi (Lee Se-young) to catch the serial killer.
9. The Game: Towards Zero (2020)
What would you do if you can foresee someone’s death?
Kim Tae-pyeong (Ok Taec-yeon) can foresee anyone’s death by looking into their eyes.
One day, a girl is kidnapped and it is suspected that the notorious Midnight Killer is behind it.
While Tae-pyeong helps with the police investigation, he comes across Detective Joon-young (Lee Yeon-hee).
Unlike others, she is the first person that he cannot foresee their death and there must be a reason behind it.
While they figuring it out, Tae-pyeong and Joon-young work together to catch the Midnight Killer.
10. Times (2021)
Here is another drama by OCN which is the channel to watch thriller, mystery Korean series.
This Korean fantasy-crime drama has a huge similarity with Signal (2016).
Instead of walkie-talkies, the two main characters from two different times can contact each other through phone calls.
Lee Jin-woo (Lee Seo-jin) and Seo Jung-in (Lee Joo-young) are both dedicated reporters. Jin-woo lives in 2015 and Jung-in in 2020.
One day, they realised they can call each other through phone. Using this special connection, they try to prevent the death of South Korea President Seo Ki-tae (Kim Young-chul), who happens to be Jung-in’s father.