Action/thriller dramas tend to be pretty popular in Korea (though I have no idea how these people get so many guns, since they're illegal here!) and they're usually pretty fun to watch. Because everyone here is a martial arts master, right? Nah, just kidding. If you're interesting in some dramas with lots of action and ass-kicking, check these out. I also added in a thriller drama (still some action in it, but not as much) because I don't have enough similar dramas to make another category for it.
City Hunter- This is the first K drama I watched, and it set a pretty high standard for me. It's an intense story. After a terrorist attack by North Korea, the South Korean government sends in an elite team for an assassination attempt. However, when it is discovered that the UN did not grant approval for military action and South Korea's alliances are in jeopardy, the 6 men who approved the mission decide to kill the team and cover it up by calling them enemies of the state, but, one of the men on the team miraculously survives. He promises his best friend (as he is dying) that he will take care of his son. The son (Lee Min Ho) is raised and trained in a variety of martial arts and skills by his surrogate father, while they bide their time and wait to take revenge on the 6 men who condemned the team. Upon their return to Seoul, Lee Min Ho's character gets a high ranking government job as a cover, and becomes the City Hunter, exposing the corruption and horrible nature of those who caused the death of his father.
20 episodes of action packed awesome, along with witty dialogue, and a strong female lead (she's a bodyguard and kicks ass), this drama has it all.
Iris- Two best friends fall for the same girl in the midst of being recruited to join the national security agency of South Korea. They must deal with the looming threat of IRIS, a terrorist organization with unknown intentions. The three find themselves in the center of international conspiracies and lots of hidden agendas in this action packed spy thriller.
20 episodes- it's got a lot of action, betrayal, secrets, and shooting. Plus, one of the bad guys in the drama is TOP from my favorite kpop group, Big Bang. Sometimes the drama gets bogged down in the romantic aspects, and it's occasionally hard to keep the alliances and groups straight, but if you like spies, secrets and betrayal, this is the drama for you.
Gapdong- 25 years ago, a serial killer named Gapdong murdered 9 women and then mysteriously disappeared, leaving 1 survivor. The case was never solved. Years later, when murders start happening again with the same circumstances and situations, a police officer, whose father was wrongly accused of the murders, joins the case in the hunt for the killer. Is it a copycat, or has Gapdong really returned?
20 episodes- more of a psychological thriller than a mystery, this drama plays with your mind a bit and makes you question everyone and everything. Lee Joon from MBLAQ does an incredible job as a patient in a prison psychiatric hospital who idolizes Gapdong, and the rest of the cast are kdrama heavyweights with lots of good experience, making it a dynamic show.
Pick of the list: City Hunter - the other 2 have their merits, but City Hunter is the whole package. It never felt like there were any filler episodes, and had great pacing and storytelling. Excellent fight scenes, a great cast and an emotional, well woven plot make this drama a must see. And not just cause Lee Min Ho looks FANTASTIC in it.