9 K-dramas without romance: Squid Game, Sky Castle and more

From Squid game to Sky Castle, let’s explore some of the amazing K-dramas without romance that you should check out.

Updated on Jul 01, 2024  |  09:54 PM IST |  514.2K
Squid Game: Netflix, Sky Castle: JTBC
Squid Game: Netflix, Sky Castle: JTBC

Romance dominates in the world of K-dramas where viewers are transported to fairytale-like stories. With beautiful visuals and emotional stories, these plotlines manage to tug at our heartstrings. However, K-dramas have a variety of genres that range from thriller, drama, comedy, and more. These K-dramas without romance do not just inspire you but offer an exciting experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. 

Without further ado, let’s look at some of the non-romantic K-dramas that you need to check out right now!

9 K-dramas without romance that are worth watching

 

1. Itaewon Class

Cast: Park Seo Joon, Kim Da Mi, Yoo Jae Myung, Kwon Nara
Director: Kim Sung Yoon
Runtime: 70 minutes per episode
Genre: Drama, Slice of Life
Seasons: 1
Release Year: 2020

In this gripping tale of resilience and vengeance, Park Sae Ro Yi, an ex-convict with a strong moral compass, sets out to build a bar-restaurant business in Itaewon, Seoul, while taking on a powerful conglomerate. As he and his eclectic group of friends work toward their dreams, they face numerous challenges that test their resolve and their ability to stick together.


2. The Glory

Cast: Song Hye Kyo, Lee Do Hyun, Lim Ji Yeon, Yeom Hye Ran
Runtime: 50-70 minutes per episode
Genre: Thriller, Revenge
Seasons: 1
Release Year: 2022

The story follows Moon Dong Eun, a woman scarred by bullying in her high school years, who meticulously plots her revenge against her tormentors after becoming a teacher. The K-drama explores the dark side of human nature and the lengths one can go to seek justice and redemption. Although a romantic subplot exists, the main focus is given on the thrilling tale of avenging herself that devoided her happy childhood.

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3. Sweet Home

Cast: Song Kang, Lee Jin Wook, Lee Si Young, Lee Do Hyun
Director: Lee Eung Bok
Runtime: 44-60 minutes per episode
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Apocalyptic
Seasons: 1
Release Year: 2020

The plot of the show follows a reclusive high school student, Cha Hyun Soo, who moves into an old apartment complex and soon finds himself battling monstrous transformations occurring around him. Together with the other residents, Hyun Soo must fight to survive while unraveling the mystery behind the monstrous plague.


4. Memorist

Cast: Yoo Seung Ho, Lee Se Young, Jo Sung Ha, Ko Chang Seok
Director: So Jae Hyun, Kim Hwi
Runtime: 60 minutes per episode
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Seasons: 1
Release Year: 2020

In this K-drama, Dong Baek, a detective with the ability to read people's memories, teams up with the elite profiler Han Sun Mi to solve a series of brutal murders. As they delve deeper into the case, they uncover shocking secrets and face formidable adversaries. The suspenseful twists and turns keep the plot engaging throughout its run, keeping the audience glued to the screen for the long haul.

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5. Squid Game

Cast: Lee Jung Jae, Park Hae Soo, Wi Ha Joon, Jung Ho Yeon
Director: Hwang Dong Hyuk
Runtime: 32-63 minutes per episode
Genre: Thriller, Survival, Drama
Seasons: 1
Release Year: 2021

Squid Game has to be one of the most famous series to have a non-romantic plot. The story follows 456 economically struggling contestants who accept an invitation to compete in children's games for a tempting prize, but the stakes are deadly. The K-drama is a harrowing exploration of human nature, desperation, and moral dilemmas in a high-stakes survival scenario.


6. The Devil Judge

Cast: Ji Sung, Kim Min Jung, Park Jin Young, Park Gyu Young
Director: Choi Jung Gyu
Runtime: 70 minutes per episode
Genre: Legal, Mystery, Drama
Seasons: 1
Release Year: 2021

In a dystopian future, the courtroom has become a reality show where the public participates in the verdict. Judge Kang Yo Han, known as the Devil Judge, takes justice into his own hands, blurring the lines between right and wrong in his quest for truth. The show has a unique concept and storyline that has never been done on television. It introduces a new form of justice which will surprise the viewers with every episode.

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7. The First Responders

Cast: Kim Rae Won, Gong Seung Yeon, Son Ho Jun
Director: Shin Kyung Soo
Runtime: 60 minutes per episode
Genre: Action, Drama
Seasons: 1
Release Year: 2022

This intense drama follows the lives of police officers, firefighters, and paramedics as they respond to various emergencies in the city. The plotline highlights their bravery, teamwork, and the challenges they face in their mission to save lives. Moreover, it also delves into the intricacies of workplace relationships and how each one grows closer to each other with time.
 


8. Taxi Driver

Cast: Lee Je Hoon, Esom, Kim Eui Sung, Pyo Ye Jin
Director: Park Joon Woo
Runtime: 70 minutes per episode
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Seasons: 2
Release Year: 2021

Kim Do Gi, a former special forces officer, now works as a deluxe taxi driver for a secret company that provides a unique revenge service. Clients who feel helpless against the law turn to Do Gi and his team to deliver justice in their own way. Nevertheless, the road to justice is not easy and they face many problems along the way.


9. Sky Castle

Cast: Yum Jung Ah, Lee Tae Ran, Yoon Se Ah, Oh Na Ra
Director: Jo Hyun Tak
Runtime: 60-90 minutes per episode
Genre: Drama, Satire
Seasons: 1
Release Year: 2018

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Set in a luxurious residential area, the show delves into the lives of wealthy families who obsessively push their children to achieve academic success. The drama critiques the competitive education system and the extremes parents will go to ensure their children's future. This show adequately touches upon important themes that is not very often explored in mainstream media.


The above-mentioned shows are not just thrilling but also add a layer of social commentary that forces people to have different perspectives on life. These are just a few K-dramas from a sea of content that is waiting for you to explore. Which show from the list above is your favorite? 

ALSO READ: 9 Best Gong Hyo Jin movies: Crazy Romance, Hit-and-Run Squad and more

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