8 Kdrama 2nd Leads that you rather wish was “The One”

망했어 !!! ~~ [banghaesseo] roughly translated to english as “I’m screwed!” is a popular expression on doramas. I, however use this on moments where I totally fall for the hidden or perhaps the jilted second lead guy on korean dramas. I am guilty as charged. Guilty by association because… because that’s just how Koreans portray a perfectly rejected although by-all-means handsome guy in a love triangle. And because in this imperfect world that we live in, good God do we not get what we always want! If you are anything like me, which I would assume, given that you are reading this piece- is a sucker for rooting for the fall back guy ALWAYS. Then bring out the wine and let’s virtually clink our glasses – geonbae!!!


This is my personal list and I’m sure many of you out there have their own set of dashing 2nd leads ready to take on your dead lovelife, making you wish that you can just scoop them out of your screens and take them with you where you can hug, pat and cuddle them instead. If there is one thing common in all of them, it is the satisfaction of letting the protagonist girl  get away with the lead male. That’s just how it is. And that is exactly why we love them even more.

If you’re ready to spill your drama tears by reminiscing the stories through the following list then keep calm your heart, we’ve all been there and we just have to console ourselves knowing that they too had their moments of glory. By that I mean they become male leads in another kdramas due to severe popularity. Read on…


#1. My Girl

Who would forget Lee Joon Ki in My Girl (2005 TV Series), co-starring Lee Da Hae and Lee Dong Wook? (all Lees and no not related) I know I didn’t. He was this quiet guy who swoops in when need be. He would cry in one corner and secretly wish to protect the girl. He was one of the first few who really pulled off the long-hair, side swept kind of hairstyle. Of course he did so many dramas after this where he is lead male, but the most recent Moon Lovers Scarlet Heart Ryeo had us captive in no other magical way. Agree? Agree?

#2. Cheese in the Trap

This for me is an intelligent, different takeout and slightly strange but quirky drama that I admire. Though I must admit that the male lead Park Hae Jin caught me by surprise with his acting pose in this psycho-suspense Cheese in the Trap(tvN / 2016) , still I can’t help but sympathize with Seo Kang Joon. With his droopy eyes and heart-wrenching stares. Gaaaa… why you have to be so cute? You also gotta love how he takes care of the damsel in distress as she got bullied. Raise your hand if you have been treated this way by a man before? Yeah, I didn’t think so 😦


#3. The Prime Minister and I

Yoon Shi Yoon was pretty quaint and cheeky in Flower Boy Next Door. But who would’ve thought that he can trigger a very dramatic, black-hair look in The Prime Minister & I. A serious character also greatly works for him! How I would love a bodyguard like him who can give me backhugs all day long. Am I right?  Sadly, he just really had to give way for the male lead to sweep the floor but he can be my oppa forever. Come here you, I’ll give you a hug. A front hug at that!

#4. The Heirs

Who here doesn’t love a bad guy for real? There’s a reason we always fall for the standoffish, cold-hearted bully. The Heirs/ The Inheritors may have strained the rich-guy, poor-girl imagery of koreanovelas but we all have to raise our glasses that Kim Woo Bin’s take on the villain lead there was such a hot enamour. Also, I don’t think I am the only one bewitched by his rude but sweet gestures. He can be the Dr. Jekyll to my Hyde. He be the Joker and I Harley Quinn. Chaaa.. he is oozing with charisma no doubt. This did sparkled his career and give way for multiple movies and kdrama lead roles but I don’t believe a goody-two shoes character will win him more fans as he did on this one!

#5. She Was Pretty

Ahhh… Si Won, my Si Won… I can fall for your charms and wit over and over again on She Was Pretty. Too bad you did not ended up totally with the girl. I think they did it on purpose because they were doing a huge favor to the hundreds of ajummas and unnies out there who drool over your enchanting smile. You can be altogether funny, hot, tantalizing all at once and never did you let us down. No matter how you squirt and flinch your face ugly, you can try your hardest but you are still cute as a pogo on a stick! Whatever that means. You my dear are an epitome of what a good man is. And you can speak english pretty well, so yay! I honestly wanted to read the book you wrote if it was true in real life. Gosh, a writer and a hot model? Never knew you could hit two milestones at the same time. Oh yeah, it only happens on the kdrama world. clinch*

#6. The Master’s Sun

You got that meme right! Ahh! it breaks my heart everytime. To watch as the second lead moan in silence in such a prickly situation. I hug my laptop to sleep because of that. Seo In Guk why do you have to sit still and yet look pretty in The Master’s Sun ? Seo Ji Sub’s abs did distract me for a while. But my cat in the bag cries out for In Guksshi while he was sleeping in broad daylight amidst the white linen sheets hanging or was it TaeYang sleeping? Eitherway, you will always have a special spot in my jewellery box. You did lift my spirit up in Hello Monster as the lead male and you did not even have a sorry, second lead I can compare to, so what a huge deal breaker!

#7. Secret Garden

Philip Lee’s charm in the Secret Garden was hidden, unnoticed and subtle. And to top it off, he wasn’t even the second lead, he was the third!! He was ever in the friendzone area who never even got the chance to have a lot of airtime during the whole course of the drama. Compared to Hyun Bin’s popularity, Lee Philip was nowhere near the map. But FYI, he is a chaebol in real life! He doesn’t need your vote to get on track with the chart- he makes the chart. Instead he opts for a quiet life on the sideways with small roles to embody. Don’t it just make you admire him more? I know I do. Plus, he speaks 3 different languages FLUENTLY! I am rooting for you all the way darling ❤

#8. Mirae’s Choice

We all know that we don’t have to be sad for Jung Yong Hwa’s role in Marry Him If You Dare (English title) / Future Choice , for me it was pretty balanced what they did. Moreover, he got so many other kdrama lead roles that makes you overlook this one. I like this drama even if a lot of my friends beg to disagree. I don’t feel it was disoriented and misleading at all. I just have to find cuteness in Yong hwa’s role as the secret boss and how he handled this character with freshness and maturity. Surely, unrequited love always makes you pine and always makes the heart grow fonder. That’s where the magic is if you ask me!


Do you have a severe second-lead syndrome like me? Tell me some of your favorites that are not on the list. I would love to get some recommendations on not-so mainstream koreanovelas that are definitely worth watching. Let me know guys. Fighting!



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