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Five drama recommendations… with memorable scene-stealers


While our drama heroes and heroines generally take the limelight – as they should — every so often a drama features a side character that just steals the scene away from whoever else is it in. Every. single. time.

You could argue it’s just the script, but more often than not it’s that stars-aligning moment where you have the perfect actor cast for the perfect supporting character. They give life to what could have been a regular ol’ supporting role, and the drama just wouldn’t be the same without them (they might even make you forget about the rest of the cast). Here are some of our favorite scene-stealing side characters.


Five drama recommendations… with memorable scene-stealers
Liar Game (2014)

 
Judging by her first appearance, you likely wouldn’t pay Lee El’s Jaime a second glance. Disguised as a timid and mousy girl, Jaime leveraged on her unassuming persona to manipulate the other contestants of Liar Game like putty in her hands. And once she had them all wrapped around her thumb, she finally bared her claws in what is still a memorable reveal to date.

Of course, that isn’t all. Jaime certainly isn’t a one-trick pony, and she proved her competence over and over again with her sharp wit and her cunning schemes. It’s no small feat to best one of the most intelligent antagonists in K-drama history, and Jaime pulled it off effortlessly in fierce red lipstick and killer heels. I won’t spoil the twist because it needs to be experienced firsthand for the full satisfaction to sink in, but that scene where her double-crossing is revealed and she stares her adversary down with a smirk playing on her lips? So satisfying.

The best part about Jaime is how effortlessly she straddles the line between friend and foe, and how she draws you in with her captivating charisma regardless of whether you love or hate her. In the midst of a spectacular cast, she still stands out easily, establishing her place as the most memorable contestant even well after the drama’s conclusion. –@solstices

 

Five drama recommendations… with memorable scene-stealers
Healer (2014)

 
When you think “ajumma” in K-dramas, the first thing that comes to mind is either a middle-aged female neighbor, or the mother of one of the characters. A computer guru isn’t who you’ll picture as a stereotypical ajumma, yet that’s exactly who Jo Min-ja (Kim Mi-kyung) is. Ajumma – as she’s fondly called by the titular Healer (Ji Chang-wook) – is the badass hacker whose skills put both the police cyber division and her rivals in the night errand business to shame.

One of her best foot soldiers in the business is Healer, who would do almost anything for the right price – and though he prefers to fly solo on his missions, he’s not entirely alone. Ajumma is the voice in his ear, the eyes behind his back, and the link between him and his clients. She’s pretty much a scene-stealer in Healer’s own life, and that’s impressive considering they never met in person throughout their partnership, until towards the end!

We hardly see Ajumma outside the dimly lit room where she’s surrounded by dozens of computer screens, and it’s easy for us to feel kind of isolated from her, especially since she doesn’t interact with most of the other characters in the story. Yet Ajumma commands our attention, with the epic-ness of her hairstyle, her undying love for kimbap, spyware devices, and knitting. She makes such a strong impact that you can’t think about Healer without thinking about Ajumma, and it can’t get any more scene-stealer than that! –@unit

 

Five drama recommendations… with memorable scene-stealers
Smart Prison Living (a.k.a. Prison Playbook) (2017)

 
With such a large ensemble cast, it’s unsurprising that Smart Prison Living would have a scene-stealer or two, but the award for the most consistent and memorable goes to Loony (Lee Kyu-hyung), the lovable recovering drug addict. His oddball mannerisms, which earned him his prison moniker, are a side effect of his withdrawals, and although his behavior is often a source of slapstick comedy, his battle with his addiction is an evolving side story that captures viewer’s hearts as it progresses through the full length of the drama.

Unlike many of the drama’s supporting characters who transfer in and out of the prison (and our male lead’s life), Loony is a constant. At first, he’s just a goofy and easily dismissed druggie, but as we learn more about his backstory, we become more and more invested in the outcome of his prison stint and the success of his rehabilitation. We all rooted for him to overcome his addiction, find peace with his parents, and reconnect with his partner, so there was a collective outcry among viewers when he fell victim to a system designed to have him fail.

And if you need any further proof that Loony was a fan favorite who lived on in our hearts, look no further than screenwriter Jung Bo-hoon’s next drama Racket Boys. Although the characters have different names, Lee Kyu-hyung’s cameo in Racket Boys is an intentional nod to Loony, giving us all closure and assuring us that he eventually found happiness. –@daebakgrits

 

Five drama recommendations… with memorable scene-stealers
Thirty But Seventeen (2018)

 
I knew Jennifer (Yeh Ji-won) was going to steal the show (and my heart) when she first appeared on-screen, strutting down the road with her signature sunglasses, and whipping the male lead (Yang Se-jong) with spring onions minutes later. Heh. Found families are one of my favorite tropes, and Jennifer is a housekeeper living with two 30-year-olds who are still stuck at 17, an actual 17-year-old and his two friends who pop in occasionally, plus a dog and a chick.

Amidst this colorful family, Jennifer stands out, and not just because of her choice of outfits – actually, there’s nary a choice considering her closet is filled with an entirely monochrome selection! Jennifer is a “human Wikipedia” whose quirks include dropping quotes at every turn, acting like a robot, and speaking in a monotonous voice. And it’s especially hilarious the way she introduces herself with her catchphrase-like “Please call me Jennifer.” If there was an award for housekeeper of the year, she’d definitely win it because there’s almost nothing she can’t do.

But like the usual K-drama character with a painful past, Jennifer shares a tragic connection with the female lead (Shin Hye-sun). Despite the incident that turned her into the robotic person she is, Jennifer is still able to provide warmth and emotional support for the family — and it’s such a rewarding journey to go along with her as the family embraces her in return, and slowly thaws the ice around her heart. –@unit

 

Five drama recommendations… with memorable scene-stealers
The Secret Life of My Secretary (2019)

 
Amidst the delightful story of a romance between a grumpy chaebol boss and his adorable and long-suffering secretary, we have the woman that was at first responsible for their budding romance: “Veronica Parrrk-i-e-yo.” The vibrant and eclectic chaebol Veronica is no shrinking violent. With a killer wardrobe, the sharpest “r” in town, and eyes for one man only, she could have been the heroine of this drama. Or maybe she should have been?

Veronica’s antics necessitate that our story’s heroine, Jin Ki-joo, cosplay Veronica (which she does quite fabulously), and soon the two are caught in a mistaken identity mixup that leads to confusion for our face-blind (of course he is!) hero, Kim Young-gwang.

Kim Jae-kyung took the role of Veronica Park and made her into someone that was impossible to ignore. And it’s not just because you can see and hear her coming a mile away — there was a wacky energy that she brought to the role, and her scenes became some of the best in the drama. It’s refreshing enough when a second lead female isn’t a witch-like meanie — and here, all those expectations were turned on their head, and made into something (or is that someone?) unforgettable. –@missvictrix

Five drama recommendations… with memorable scene-stealers

 
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I loved Loony in Prison Playbook! He was really the funniest. Lee Kyu-Hyung and Jung Hae-In had so much fun to act as Tom and Jerry.

I wonder how many animals will appear in the comments 🤔

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Thank you for this gem of a post I recognise 3 of the 5 and agree wholeheartedly, they stole their scenes.

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Kang Han-na in My Roommate Is a Gumiho.

Kim Seul-gi in almost everything.

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This list wouldn't be complete without Veronica Park. All of this mentions here sound really impressive on print despite having not watched any of them. I don't know which to pick but I'm leaning towards Lee El's Jaime.

Well, I have...
Kang Ki-young : What's Wrong With Secretary Kim.
Kwak Dong-yeon : Vincenzo.
Lee Kyu-hyung : Life.
Kang Kyung-sun : Alchemy of Souls.
Hyun Jyu-ni : It's Beautiful Now.
Shin Rin-ah : Marriage Contract.
Kwon Yul : My Unfamiliar Family.

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And Park Jin-joo in everything I've watched her in.

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One like for Kwon Yul in MUF. His brief presence towards the ending is such a ray of sunshine. It was very memorable for me as I could finish that show with a satisfied heart knowing that the oldest sister would find a good partner.

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Shin Rina is one of the reason I braved a melo that potentially ended in tragedy like Marriage Contract. That also reminded me of Im Chaemi who played as Lee Junki's precocious daughter in Two Weeks.

Lee Kyu-hyung's character in Life is an unexpected yet very much welcomed scene stealer.

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Oh, Lee Kyu-hyung in Life transformed the ending of that show for me. He had one of the most beautiful scenes with the "greek god" 😂 I didn't pay attention to the latter, but LKH was oof.

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The actors who came to mind after reading this post are:

1. Kim Seon-Ho, ofc. I think it was some alchemy behind the scene that catapulted him into his stardom in Start-Up. Regardless of the ship anyone was or still is on, it’s very obvious that his presence is very strong there and leaves good impression on viewers. He stole that show from both leads, hands down.

2. Yeh Ji-won in Another Oh Hae-young. She stands out so much as a super hilarious character there. Her romance with her partner is equally hilarious. Without her, I believe Another Oh Hae-young might not have been one of people’s favorite shows.

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3. Lee El in Goblin. Who could forget that mysterious woman dressed all in red with that killing red lipstick. But not just here, even her minor role in Love and Leashes she also has strong screen presence. Like regardless if shows, she seems to have this ethereal aura about her and makes her stands out from the rest.

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Kim Seon-Ho 100% his character crying with the grandmother character still stings even now.

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One of the best scenes of his.

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Yes!!! to #2. For me, that is her greater scene-stealing role. Absolutely nuts, absolutely awesome, and absolutely hilarious (in equal parts). You are correct, I don't think I would like Another Oh Hae-young quite as much without her antics with Kim Ji-seok.

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"2. Yeh Ji-won in Another Oh Hae-young. She stands out so much as a super hilarious character there. Her romance with her partner is equally hilarious. Without her, I believe Another Oh Hae-young might not have been one of people’s favorite shows."

ITA with this. She was fantastically fabulous in this one. Not just as the hard-ass boss lady in the office, but watching her drunken foolishness each night at home (and her brothers just kind of dealing with her antics, like "nothing to see here, totally normal") was hilarious. And then the scene where she tells off baby-daddy's exes... perfect.

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May I offer: the team of Kim Seon-ho and Ko Won-hee in STRONGEST DELIVERYMAN. Both of them together stole the show.

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Yes great call, they really did.

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I must watch this despite the ML’s hair sometime!

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Kim Seonho stole the show and stole our hearts

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And he never gave them to us back.

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Definitely agree with #1. As you said, he did not just steal scenes, he stole the entire show. Kang Han-na also stole scenes from that same show. Now it got me thinking, maybe there should be a spin-off with those two. Will definitely watch it.

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And he is the SML who had NDR played his younger self. He even has his own confession of his feelings scene!

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As a French speaker, actually Ye Ji-Won was awful to listen when she was drunk and it happened really often... I didn't like the fact their relationship happened when both of them were drunk. I liked her as a boss otherwise.

Ki Seon-Ho really stole the show. He was the most interesting character and his acting was top-notch.

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Oh.. it's good to know how a native perceives her French because for a non-French speaker like me, it sounded fabulous! lol

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I won't be angry against someboy trying to speak French... this language is hard. But it was a whole between the fact she was drunk, the accent and the content.

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I generally don't expect perfect French (or any other non-native language) when watching a drama in Korean. I too speak French, but wasn't expecting anyone in a K-drama to be proficient or have a proper accent. She was still fabulous in my opinion, regardless of her skills in French or lack thereof. I don't necessarily agree that their relationship happened entirely when they were drunk, either - I mean, obviously, that first night together was a drunken escapade... but they spent plenty of time interacting with each other sober, too, especially after she found out she was pregnant and quit drinking.

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Lee Bong-ryun in Extraordinary Attorney Woo
Park Solomon (now Lomon) in Lookout

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Oooh, yes to Lee El! But my first choice would have been the all-shades-of-purple-lipstick-wearing dog-demon secretary from Hwayugi. And after that the red-everything Samshin goddess from Goblin. (And of course, yes to ajumma, but it's Kim Mi-kyung, it goes without saying)

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@Unit "You can’t think about Healer without thinking about Ajumma" this is so true !

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Agree on Yeh Ji-won. Great performance.

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Kwak Dong-yeon in It's Okay Not to Be Okay.

Oh Dae-hwan in The Red Sleeve Cuff.

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*there's a vinyl screech as I play the broken record*

Kwak Dong Yeon in Moonlight Drawn By Clouds
Kwak Dong Yeon in Radio Romance
Kwak Dong Yeon in My Strange Hero
Kwak Dong Yeon in It's Ok to be Not Okay
Kwak Dong Yeon and Park Se Wan in Never Twice
Kwak Dong Yeon in Vincenzo
Kwak Dong Yeon in Big Mouse
PROBABLY Kwak Dong Yeon in Monstrous but I didn't end up watching it lol
...
etcetera etcetera
...
You get the idea.

Oh and a personal favourite, Lee Jae Kyun in Secret Royal Inspector and Joy 😂

(Veronic Park Supremacy 💜💜💜)

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No lies detected here! Especially not Kwak Dong Yeon in Vincenzo.

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Team Leader Ahn Gi-seok (Lim Cheol-soo), aka Corn Salad fan club president, was my scene-stealer in Vincenzo.

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Amen!

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I saw the post title and came here to say, Kwak Dong Yeon in anything. But someone clearly beat me to it. 😂

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I literally finished Worst Secretary Ever... I mean Secret Life of My Secretary because of Veronica.

—Kang Ki Young in everything tbh, but especially in Bring it on Ghost and Oh My Ghostess.
—Kim Seul Gi in everything but especially in Flower Boy Next Door.
—Esom - Because this is my first life.
—Kim Min Seok - Lovestruck in the city.
—Song Ha Yoon - Fight for my Way.
—Sung Hoon's hair - Faith.
—Kim Dae Myung and Byun Yo Han - Misaeng
—Kim Bum (and everyone involved in his side story tbh) - Nine Tailed wtv
—Ahn Chang Hwan - The Fiery Priest
—Yoon Jong Hoon - Shooting Starts
—Kim Min Jung - Mr Sunshine, The Devil Judge
—Lee Dong Hwi and Ryu Hye Young - Reply 88

+
Kids - My Secret Terius (well, kids are scene stealers everywhere but especially in this show)

Kim Min Jae's suits - Dali

Cells - Yu Mi's Cells

Sondia's OST - When the Devil Calls Your Name

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"—Kang Ki Young in everything tbh, but especially in Bring it on Ghost and Oh My Ghostess.
—Esom - Because this is my first life."

I agree with both of those. Esom is one of my favorite actresses, she was really a scene stealer in First Life though. All of her scenes with Park Byeong-Eun... he was kind of a scene stealer too, though - him picking on the ML was priceless too. And who can forget his 500 Days of Summer salute!

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Lol at Sung Hoon’s hair 😂😂

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On the subject of Hair, I have two more to add: the only two dramas I have watched in full primarily "for the hair", being LOST and THROUGH THE DARKNESS.

I second Byun Yo Han in MISAENG. Why oh why doesn't he do more dramas 😐

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Yes~ we need him in more dramas. 🥺

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Yes to "Cells - Yu Mi's Cells"!

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I thought Hwang Woo-seul-hye hilariously stole most of her scenes as the shaman fangirl and VVIP client in Cafe Minamdang.

I also think Seo Hye-won stole some Business Proposal scenes as Jo Yoo-jung, the most outrageous, competitive, loud, and half English-speaking cousin of Jin Young-seo.

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Oh you are so right about Seo Hye-won. It was well into her appearance in ALCHEMY as So-yi that I realized she was the crazy cousin in BUSINESS PROPOSAL.

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Yes! It took me so long to place her!

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Hwang Woo-seul-hye's character was hilarious. Totally a scene stealer, I loved her.

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Listen I know it was only an extended cameo but am I really gonna be the first one to mention Lee Min-ki in Shut Up: Flower Boy Band?????

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Soooooo true

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Accurate, the eyeliner, the skinny jeans, the DRAMA.

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I've loved Lee El ever since Liar Game. Been 10 years hasn't it?

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Of course Jo Min-ja is one of my favorite kdrama characters of all time which made Kim Mi-kyung one of my favorites kdrama actors.

There are many but couple of other nominees:
1. I am a bit of a broken record on this but what Choi Min-soo did in LAWLESS LAWYER as far as scene stealing goes was highway robbery (to Lee Joon-gi). When those two were together in a scene LJG didn’t stand a chance. Lol. I loved it, and
2. Woo Do-Hwan in both MAD DOG and THE KING: ETERNAL MONARCH. Enough said.

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Woo Do-hwan in The King: Eternal Monarch is another favorite scene stealer of mine. I stand by my belief that he's the best part of that drama.

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Totally agree!

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You beat me to that comment!

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100% Choi Min Soo, he was FLAWLESS in that drama.

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Yes, FLAWLESS in LAWLESS.
When LJG and CMS temporarily joined forces they put on one of my all-time favorite kdrama fight scenes. It was beautiful. You could tell they both had a ball doing it.

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I have talked about how Jo Minja is probably the coolest ahjumma in kdramaland. But i don't think i have talked about Jamie here. Dang, i have loved her since the beginning of Liar Game. She is awesome. I made my own top 10 badass female characters list and she is there, alongside Jo Minja.

Loony is just so lovable. I think that's how it goes when an actor understands his character. Lee Kyuhyung did awesome.

I don't watch the last but i know the Vveronica Parrrk ieyo

I think the dramas in this list are good dramas so my recommendation is from not so good drama. Strong Woman Do Bongsoon has Kim Wonhae playing 2 characters very opposite of each other and it was legendary. He definitely stole the show

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Kim Won-hae is always a scene stealer no matter what roles - big or small - he plays. Just such a wonderful adjusshi actor. I see him as the male version of Kim Mi-kyung.

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Our lord and saviour of scene-stealers (since I first started watching kdramas): Kang Ki-yong!!!

I am so happy to see him gain even more recognition nowadays!

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Kim Hwan Hee - in When the Weather is Fine. What an actress! I can't forget her 2 minute scene about the cycle, ever.

Son Seok Ku in Be Melo. I hadn't watched him before, but that brief appearance hooked me, line and sinker, which got me to watch the very fine DS60.

Ann Woo Yeon as Samantha in Mad for Each Other, whom we didn't get enough of. More for the character than the actor, maybe? I was reminded of this because I'm watching Jung Woo in Mental Coach Jegal these days.

Joo Min Kyung - I loved her turns in that snoozefest One Spring Night and Pretty Noona (which I shall not adjectivize further), and I do wish she picked up shows that I'd watch more.

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Kim Hwan Hee is really good, I wish to see her in more dramas. Here's My Plan was weird but she was great.

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Same! I thought Here's My Plan was a "lookbook" or portfolio of sorts for KHH, where she got to do everything. The show was not good. I wouldn't recommend it, unless you want to watch her, and yes she was great! She's so young still, I hope she gets more meaty roles. She deserves it!

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i remember being skeptical seeing Ryu Joon Yeol in Reply 1988 poster, but by end of ep 1. he had me by the throat with his Jungpal character. for me he's the scene stealer with memorables scenes... including the painful one. Ra Mi Ran also a good scene stealers too in Reply 1988. come to think of it, all of Madame Cheetah and her family are all scene stealers.

other than that, i agree with the list.

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Loony, Veronica Park and Jennifer!!! I love them!
Lee El is a great actress and I remember disliking her in that show. Ajumma is loveable too but it was so long ago that I forget if her character was memorable for me.

The recent scene stealers for me are Kwak Dong Yeon in almost all the shows I saw him in - FFMW, Vincenzo and IOTNBO. Park Gyu Young in Sweet Home. Park Jin Joo in IOTNBO. I may miss more that I can't remember off the top of my head.

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Park Gyu-young and Kim Nam-hee stole the scene in Sweet Home. To me, they are the OTP of that drama.

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They definitely were!

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Such a GREAT list. I didn't watch Liar's Game but I believe Lee El would be a scene stealer. I still yell Ahjumma when I see Kim Yi Kyung on my screen. Veronica Park, such a great character. I still get sad when I think about how she isn't more popular and how she was wasted in Again My Life, playing second fiddle to that bland actress. Yeh Ji Won is excellent in everything, but Jennifer is probably my favorite role of hers. Loony was such a beautifully layered character and one of the truest depictions of an addict I have ever seen in a drama, Lee Kyu-hyung was spectacular as usual.

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I feel the injustice for KJK in Again My Life too. Her character was more interesting and had more chemistry than the FL. I would love to see her get another great character so she can cement her FL potential status soon.

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Park Hyuk-Kwon, usually a mid-ranking bureaucrat or businessman, as psychopathic swordsman Gil Tae-Mi in Roots of the Throne.

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Woo Do Hwan as Jo Eun Sup in TKEM!
I adored that character

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I agree with all of these!!! Lee El is a scene stealer in every drama she is in. Her voice with that face is perfection. 🥰 And among males, Kwak Dong Yeon, Oh Jung Se, and Kang Ki-young. All have incredible screen presence.

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Ooooh how fun! First of all, can I just give a prelimary "any drama with Kim Seul-Gi" and "any drama with Park Jin-Joo"? They're both HILARIOUS and have great expressions. Total scene stealers.

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I mean... I didn't even like Jealousy Incarnate and I still remember Park Jin Joo as the nurse there ahahaha

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Hmmm my five dramas?

Prison Playbook: I have to agree: not just the drug addict but all of the inmates were precious. I still remember one scene of them all practicing a girl group dance.

W: Two Worlds: oh my heavens the assistant. He was hilarious. His fingers through the glasses always cracked me up.

Healer: Does Ajumma even count as a side character? She had so much presence I'd like to upgrade her.

Monster/I Remember You: Same thing here. Park Bo Gum in one of his most memorable roles to date for me. VERY well done!

Sh**ting Stars: There were a few scene stealers in this show, which is really fun because the leads were already AMAZING. It was just a gem of a show. But her best friend reporter was always hilarious, and Candy (Kim Seul Gi) was also HILARIOUS.

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Dong Ha in Suspicious Partner and Do Ji-Han in Hwarang fit here as well.

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Having seen 4 out 5 dramas on this list, I completely agree with you!
These characters stole the scene and our heart. Looking back at these dramas it's indeed these character that warmed my heart the most.
We would have loved to have seen more of them but with what they gave it, they became the legends of our hearts.

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