Singer-turned-actress. It’s a well-traveled path many celebrities walk at some point in their careers. Some follow it to success, and others get lost among the masses.
Even though Nana’s still technically in girl group After School— she’s the only member! So in 2016, she embarked on her acting journey in Korea with the law drama The Good Wife. She surprised audiences by successfully playing a nuanced character, and has continued to add challenging, intense dramas to her resume. It’s something one wouldn’t expect from a delicately beautiful girl group member.
Most recently, Nana seems to be taking a break from legal/political dramas to star in a romantic comedy called Oh My Ladylord with the King of neurotic male leads, Lee Min-ki! Below is a list of Korean dramas she’s starred in up until now. Which have you watched, and which do you plan on watching?
1. The Good Wife (Law, Romance)
Premise: When Kim Hye-kyung’s (Jeon Do-yeon) prosecutor husband Lee Tae-joon (Yoo Ji-tae) gets arrested for corruption, she returns to practicing law after thirteen years. While working for MJ Law firm, Hye-kyung rediscovers herself and her passion for law. Nana plays Kim Dan; one of the law firm’s investigators.
The drama is a remake of a US show by the same name.
Thoughts: This was Nana’s first drama in Korea, and she received a ton of praise for her solid performance. Especially since she was acting alongside veterans like Jeon Do-yeon. The fact that her character was bisexual also stunned viewers since sexual orientation is not something often discussed in Korean dramas. If you’re looking for a fast-paced legal show with a dynamic cast, then give The Good Wife a watch.
2. Kill It (Action)
Premise: Nana plays an ex-ballerina turned detective named Do Hyun-jin in her first main role. While working a serial murder case, Hyun-jin continues to cross paths with a mysterious veterinarian named Kim Soo-hyun (Jang Ki-yong). What she doesn’t know is reserved, kind-hearted Soo-hyun moonlights as a hitman, and he’s intertwined with the case (and her life) in more ways than one.
Thoughts: This drama had an interesting premise, so I started watching it, but ended up dropping it about halfway through. There were too many things that didn’t make sense, and entire plot lines that contributed nothing to the story. I also read the drama took a strange sci-fi turn toward the end that didn’t make sense either. On top of that, as much as I like Nana, I just couldn’t buy her as a cop. (V-Kill It was so weird!)
Some people still found Kill It interesting though! (V – *raises hand*) So if you’re willing to suspend a ton of disbelief, and ignore some plot holes, you might enjoy it.
3. Justice (Suspense/Thriller)
Premise: Lee Tae-kyung (Choi Jin-hyuk) is a shark of a lawyer with the best win rate. He originally got into law to avenge his brother, but lost himself along the way. He’s acquired his wealth and reputation by defending people you wouldn’t want to introduce to your mother. Most of Tae-kyung’s seedy clients are referrals from Song Woo-yong (Son Hyun-joo), the CEO of a successful construction company. When young actresses start disappearing, Tae-kyung is forced to re-evaluate the way he’s been living his life.
Nana plays Seo Yeon-ah, a strong-willed prosecutor who used to date Tae-kyung.
Thoughts: I’m sensing a theme here! It seems like Nana really likes going for darker law-themed dramas. Her characters in The Good Wife, Kill It, and Justice have all worked in law enforcement in some capacity. As for Justice, I haven’t seen it, but I heard it was dark and fast-paced. There are also a lot of morally ambiguous characters, if that’s your thing. The downside is the drama feeling like it was hopping between genres, no chemistry between Choi Jin-hyuk and Nana, and an unresolved ending for the main case.
4. Memorials (also widely known as: Into the Ring) (Romance, Comedy)
Premise: Goo Se-ra (Nana) is known for two things: filing civil complaints and getting fired from her numerous part time jobs. Seo Gong-myung (Park Sung-hoon), a local civil servant, is known for two things as well: his handsome face and his rigid, by-the-book personality. When fiery, righteous Se-ra decides to run for an opening on the District Assembly, the two collide and sparks fly.
Thoughts: I recently added this drama to my watch list, because many people called it a hidden gem. It’s probably also Nana’s most-beloved role to date. I heard the drama strikes a perfect balance between the political aspect and the romance, and that Nana has electrifying chemistry with Park Sung-hoon. It’s more light-hearted than her other dramas as well.
5. Oh My Ladylord (Alternatite time: Oh! Master) (Romance, Comedy)
Premise: Han Bi-soo (Lee Min-ki) is a screenwriter well known for his thrillers. His love life is less than thrilling, but that could soon change when he meets Oh Joo-in (Nana), a popular rom-com actress whose love life is also lackluster. A forced cohabitation trope ensues, and the two begin sharing more than just their living quarters.
Thoughts: Only two episodes have aired, and while they’ve gotten mixed reviews, I’d say give the drama a chance. There’s a surprise element that adds a bit of dimension to an otherwise basic plot 😉 I’m also hearing good things about Lee Min-ki and Nana’s performances.
Like I said before, up until 2020, I’ve noticed a pattern of Nana’s dramas being quite dark and law-oriented. Could this be the start of her shifting her career more toward romantic comedies? What do you guys think? And would it be a welcome change or do you want her to continue fighting crime?
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