Top 10 Mind-Bending South Korean Dramas Available on Netflix

There’s a vast world of South Korean dramas, from romances to thrillers; this industry has been thriving on international views for over ten years. The skyrocketing popularity of K-dramas, as they’re globally known, has led one of the leading streaming services, Netflix, to take as many as possible under its wing and stream them for non-Korean audiences. When viewers scroll through their streaming library, they can see thrillers, dramas, and some of the best South Korean rom-coms on Netflix. But there’s also a very interesting genre with more ominous qualities; these dramas are somewhat dark and gritty, with a mind-bending quality to them. On top of it all, they deal with some of the darkest human emotions and impulses – making them interesting to watch. The main example of this was Squid Game, but so many more are worth the watch. Updated on June 21, 2023, by Jessie Nguyen: South Korean thriller shows are always top choices for moviegoers for multiple reasons such as unique storytelling, complex characters, suspenseful plots, cultural insights, and high production values. Thus, here are some mind-bending shows that would satisfy viewers’ thirst that is available on Netflix.


A unique high school show on Netflix, Extracurricular follows a student named Oh Ji-soo (Kim Dong-hee), who leads a double life as a part-time criminal to make money to support himself. However, things take a dark turn when he becomes involved with a classmate who is also leading a double life as a sex worker. The two got entangled in a dangerous web of crime and violence, with their lives and future at stake. Extracurricular keeps the audience on the edge of their seats since the plot is well-crafted and the pacing is excellent with each episode building on the tension and suspense of the previous one. It’s also a balanced mix of crime, thriller, and coming-of-age genres, with unique twists that set it apart from other shows in the category. The cinematography and soundtrack are also top-notch, adding to the overall vibe of the show. Watch on Netflix

9 ‘The Silent Sea’ (2021)

Set in a dystopian future where Earth is facing catastrophic water shortage, The Silent Sea follows a team of scientists sent on a mission to retrieve a mysterious sample from an abandoned research station on the Moon. The team is led by Han Yoon-jae (Gong Yoo), a former astronaut who is haunted by a tragic incident from his past. He is joined by a group of experts, including a biologist, a medical officer, and an engineer. The Silent Sea presents an innovative sci-fi mystery with lots of unexpected twists and turns. While the pacing is erratic, the immersive digital effects make up for it by making the improbable appealing. Additionally, the program didn’t fully develop its characters, but aficionados of the genre may easily overlook this because the tension is what keeps the audience on edge. Watch on Netflix

8 ‘Mine’ (2021)

And fans who watched SKY Castle and are intrigued by the materialistic motivations of the rich and the beautiful will rejoice in having Mine on their watchlist. This drama series about the 1% revolves around women working to protect their families and attain the highest levels of praise and wealth. However, their lives become intertwined, and they discover terrible truths about their friends, families, each other, and themselves. Mine packs a heavier punch than SKY Castle in terms of thriller elements. Average viewers’ emotions range from sympathy to rage and utter confusion, and sometimes all while watching one episode. This drama dismantles personal greed and shows the struggle of finding one’s true identity outside of others’ perception – in this case, extremely wealthy and perfect individuals. Watch on Netflix

7 ‘Little Women’ (2022)

One of the most recent dramas on this list, Little Women was an instant hit. It was “fed in doses” to viewers, as Netflix released two episodes per weekend across six weeks. The story revolves around the sisters Oh who grew up working for scraps and now get a chance to get into some serious money. The youngest sister becomes involved with a mayoral candidate’s family, the middle sister is a skilled and highly intuitive journalist trying to topple him from his pedestal, and the eldest sister befriends a coworker who has many secrets and hidden skills. The cast did a superb job in this tense, twisted drama full of unpredictable moments and harsh truths about greed. Many fans of Squid Game will also be happy to see Wi Ha-joon in another cool role. Watch on Netflix

6 ‘My Name’ (2021)

My Name follows Yoon Ji-woo (Han So-hee), a young woman who joins a drug cartel to avenge her father’s death who was a police officer, killed while investigating the said cartel. As Ji-woo becomes more involved, she must navigate the dangerous and complex world of drug trafficking while keeping her true identity a secret. My Name is intricate and well-written revenge-themed K-drama on Netflix, keeping viewers interested and guessing right up until the very end. The program also examines Ji-woo’s psychological and emotional costs as well as the repercussions of her choices. Moreover, it addresses issues like loyalty, vengeance, and the hazy boundary between good and evil with twists and turns, making viewers uneasy. Although it may not be a mind-bending thriller in the conventional sense, the show excels due to its psychological complexity and emotional depth. Watch on Netflix

5 ‘Beyond Evil’ (2021)

Fans that watched Signal and want to continue the wave of ominous and mysterious detective stories will have their hands full with Beyond Evil. This drama came out on Netflix in 2021 and didn’t garner too much attention. However, its plot is anything but dull – and again, can be easily spoiled if too much is said. In short, the story is about serial killings in a small South Korean village. The main detective is one of the oldest and most respected police officers in the village. However, since the cases aren’t new, the authorities find it fitting to hire a young rookie detective from Seoul. The two detectives aren’t only separated by an age gap, but by their views on life, being police officers, and the case itself. Beyond Evil delivers punch after punch to the unexpecting audience, although it’s quite a slow burn and may not be for everyone. Watch on Netflix

4 ‘Signal’ (2016)

Signal is one of those South Korean gems that everyone loves and a great representation of the thriller/mystery genre in K-dramas. The story revolves around a private detective who finds a mysterious walkie-talkie while on a case, forcing him to team up with a detective who may know something more about it. There’s not much more that could be said without spoiling the story. Fans who’ve never seen the show should know that it’s a detective story, full of tense and unpredictable moments, and it may involve a time loop and time travel. Intrigued? Signal is worth the watch and hype, which can be difficult to live up to. Watch on Netflix

3 ‘Stranger’ (2017)

Stranger is one of the first K-dramas to go mainstream and get global recognition. It was also one of the first Korean dramas on Netflix back in 2017. The story revolves around a brave detective who gets help on a case from a highly praised and talented prosecutor. However, the prosecutor is unable to feel emotions and lacks adequate social skills for various situations. The strange case of the prosecutor without empathy seems to work in his favor; he’s able to understand and digest facts from a more objective and logical side – but is that actually good? Fans have two seasons of this gripping thriller with unexpected turns on Netflix, and if anyone needs more convincing, the fantastic Bae Doo-na plays the detective in charge. Watch on Netflix

2 ‘SKY Castle’ (2018)

SKY Castle is a satirical but at times very dark depiction of South Korean elite families living in a gated community called SKY Castle. Everything gets upturned when the Hwang family moves in, as they’re not the most typical residents; the housewives in the community try to shake things up as they don’t trust the Hwang family, especially the wife, Soo-im. This drama is filled with dramatic twists and turns. It’s often considered one of the best shows ever produced in South Korea due to its thought-provoking themes and addictive storyline. Watch on Netflix


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