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10 Korean Dramas Where Nice Guys Finished First!

10 Korean Dramas Where Nice Guys Finished First

“Nice guys finish last.” We’ve all heard this saying, and society continues to debate if it’s true. As far as Korean dramas, there are a ton of bad boy narratives and often times the kinder second lead ends up alone.

Well pop that bottle of champagne and squeeze up to your Beta (or nice alpha) because here is a list of the 10 times Nice Guys finished first! In fact, they finished at the tippy top and took all of our hearts with them.

(We love tsunderes, but for the sake of having an uncomplicated list, they will not be included. All of the male leads on this list didn’t need time to thaw, brr).


10 Korean Dramas Where Nice Guys Finished First

KIM JIN HYUK from Encounter (aka Boyfriend)

Played by: Park Bo-gum

Watch it on: Viki

If a golden retriever was a person, that person would be Kim Jin-hyuk. Not only was he friendly, warm, and loyal, he went out of his way to help Cha Soo-hyun (played by Song Hye-kyo) navigate Cuba when they were mere strangers! I also loved the fact he wasn’t intimidated by her position of power as a CEO.


10 Korean Dramas Where Nice Guys Finished First

RI JUNG HYUK from Crash Landing On You

Played by: Hyun Bin

Watch it on: Netflix

When I first started watching this drama, I thought Ri Jung-hyuk would be stern, arrogant, and ruthless. I thought it would take forever for Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin) to corrode his rigid exterior.

But boy was I wrong. And I learned that early on.

Jung-hyuk was an absolute teddy bear. Yes, he could be too serious at times, but he had a sense of humor and an adorable naiveté when it came to matters of the heart.

Added bonuses? He was attentive to Se-ri from the beginning and knew his way around a kitchen.

A man in uniform who can cook (V – and brew up a drip coffee with perfection)? I stan.


10 Korean Dramas Where Nice Guys Finished First

CHA EUN HO from Romance Is a Bonus Book
(aka Love Is a Bonus Book)

Played by: Lee Jong-suk (We miss you *sobs*)

Watch it on: Netflix

Most, if not all of Lee Jong-suk’s characters could be added to this list, but we’ll stick to his most recent role before he went off to the army.

As the childhood friend of a divorced woman in her late-thirties trying to start over, Eun-ho was supportive of Dani without running too much interference. He could’ve easily taken advantage of her since she was vulnerable, and used his history with her to get what he wanted. But aside from some light teasing (that resulted in me fanning myself), Eun-ho was a perfect gentleman and the epitome of a lover who’s also your best friend.


10 Korean Dramas Where Nice Guys Finished First

YOO SI JIN from Descendants of the Sun

Played by: Song Joong-ki

Watch it on: Viki, Hulu

We’ve got another man in uniform y’all. Be still, my beating heart! When you’re part of an elite special forces team, you see things civilians couldn’t possibly imagine. It would be easy to become calloused, cold. But Yoo Si-jin kept his big heart and sense of humor— even though it wasn’t always easy. His light-hearted personality really balanced out Kang Mo-yeon’s (Song Hye-kyo) more serious one.


10 Korean Dramas Where Nice Guys Finished First

PARK MORGAN from Search: WWW

Played by: Jang Ki-yong

Watch it on: Viki

Is it me or was Jang Ki-yong in everything last year? Well, out of all those projects, I especially liked him as Park Morgan in Search: WWW. Kind, but not a pushover, Morgan didn’t let a little thing like age get in the way of pursuing the woman he liked. He also demonstrated that nice guys can be assertive entrepreneurs too.

I loved that he was there for Bae Tae-mi (Im Soo-jung) whenever she needed him, and was willing to compromise on things for the sake of their relationship. He was younger, but I’d say he taught Bae Ta-mi a lot about herself. It also tickled me that he was one of the few people who could fluster her. Plus, oh my god, that kiss in the break room! One of the best kisses I’ve seen in a drama hands down!


10 Korean Dramas Where Nice Guys Finished First

PARK DONG HOON from My Ahjussi (aka: My Mister)

Played by: Lee Sun-kyun

Watch it on: Viki

Talk about a guy who smiles through the pain and always wants everyone around him to eat even if that means starving himself! This man took care of his work team, his neighborhood friends, his brothers, his mother, his wife (who was cheating on him!), his local bar owner, his best friend, and a girl he didn’t know from Adam who tried to ruin his life. I mean, what!

But this story has a happy ending y’all. The kind of ending that leaves you chuffed (I just learned this word, teehee) and ready to take on all that life has to offer. Plus, I’m sure there is tons of fan fiction on what was to come in the life of our two main leads! Google search awaits!


10 Korean Dramas Where Nice Guys Finished First

KIM BOONG DO from Queen In-hyun’s Man

Played by: Ji Hyun-woo

How to Watch: Viki
(access is currently restricted based on region)

To this day, Queen In-hyun’s Man is one of my favorite dramas, Ji Hyun-woo and Yoo In-na’s (aka Choi Hee-jin) chemistry was so palpable, I wasn’t shocked when they started dating in real life.

As far as the character goes, Kim Boong-do really was a gentleman and a scholar. Intelligent, just, and patient, he braved the uncertainty of time just to be with the woman he loved. (V – Plus, he looked darn good in a beanie!)


10 Korean Dramas Where Nice Guys Finished First

CHOI TAEK from Reply 1988

Played by: Park Bo-gum

Watch it on: Viki, Netflix

Okay, I know Park Bo-gum is on here twice, but how could I leave out Taek? Even people who wanted Deok-sun (Hyeri) to end up with Jung-hwan (Ryoo Joon-yeol) couldn’t bring themselves to dislike Taek. That’s because he was caring and never hesitated in telling Deok-sun she was wanted.

If he thought she looked pretty, he told her. When he caught feelings, he didn’t hide them. In other words, he liked it so he put a ring on it.

(V – I mean, Park Bo Gum made a serial killer look adorable so I’m pretty sure he will be on several nice guy lists to come!)


10 Korean Dramas Where Nice Guys Finished First

SEO JOON HEE from Something in the Rain (aka Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food)

Played by: Jung Hae-in

Watch it on: Netflix

How could you not want to buy this Noona Killer food?

Joon-hee was cheeky and free-spirited, but determined when it came to love. Sometimes he was impulsive, and yes, immature, but his intentions were always good. His earnestness was endearing (so were those ears), and he tried to protect Yoo Jin-ah (played by Son Ye-jin) from the societal burdens placed on her.


10 Korean Dramas Where Nice Guys Finished First

YOON TAE WOON from My Unfortunate Boyfriend

Played by: Noh Min-woo

How to Watch: Viki
(access is currently restricted based on region)

My Unfortunate Boyfriend won’t be for everyone, but if you’re so tired of arrogant male leads and you’d like to visit the other side of the spectrum, then give it a try! There aren’t many leads like Tae-woon. He was honest to a fault, alarmingly naive, and blushed easily. I thought it was adorable that his hobby was gardening and he hated the thought of living things being harmed.

A man this pure and innocent was a good influence on Yoo Ji-na (our dishonest female lead played by Yang Jin-sung). It was nice to see them end up together and live a simple, but happy life.


See? Nice guys don’t have to finish last. And they don’t always have to be the second male lead either. Which nice guy were you happy to see on our list? Are there any who would you have added? Let us know who and why, we might just make a new list with those names in mind!

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4 Comments

  1. Jill
    March 29, 2020 / 3:45 pm

    All these are lead guys, you expect them to win the girl at the end, like they do in 99% of Kdramas made. The second male lead Oh Ji Ho was the nicest guy in Chuno aka The Slave Hunters and miracle of miracles won the female lead character’s heart at the end and they even married and adopted a Prince. That classic Kdrama will always be number one with me because it dared to be different and show that “first loves” rarely work out.

    • Adri
      Author
      March 29, 2020 / 10:37 pm

      I’m definitely looking forward to a time where more second leads will get the girl 🙂 But for now, I’ll settle with leads who are nice rather than the typical “arrogant jerk” lead.

    • Gillian
      April 29, 2020 / 8:28 am

      I think Nam joo hyuk also deserves an honorable mention. He even helped bok Joo with pursuing his brother

      • Adri
        Author
        April 30, 2020 / 9:34 pm

        You’re right! Maybe we’ll do a part 2 soon.

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